Category: Uncategorized

For the Gillard Government : Just Do The Right Thing








During the give-and-take panel discussion at Lowy today, Laura Tingle of The Australian Financial Review hinted at a view within the federal government that it is likely to lose the next election and might as well devote itself to good policy. This Götterdämmerung option – you can see I’ve just returned from seeing the Wagner Ring – might be the most intelligent way to rebuild support. Policy success, after all, is the way to political success.

The Government cannot back down on an emissions trading scheme. Get the thing in place and challenge the Opposition to dismantle it. Challenge them to fund their tax cuts without the billions in revenue that will flow from the ETS and the revamped mining tax. Take the advice Paul Keating once gave to me: “Stand in the middle of the expressway and dare them to run you down.”

In any case, I’m more optimistic about the prospects of a government recovery.

Thoughtlines with Bob Carr


New Tools for New Times

by Bruce Jones
A central theme of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was the need to revitalize the institutions of governance for 21st century problems. “We cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy,” he declared in one notable stump speech, and the sentiment was repeated throughout his campaign. Once in office, President Obama made the same claim regarding international order and governance. The 2010 National Security Strategy acknowledged that in a world facing transnational threats, and one where “new centers of influence” would shape diplomatic options, international cooperation was a necessity. But it recognized that outdated institutions are as much an obstacle for international governance as outdated financial rules are an impediment to managing the global economy. The NSS asserted that, “As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we will build new and deeper partnerships in every region, and strengthen international standards and institutions.”
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Ending “Too Big To Fail”

by Michael Barr

Over two years ago, the United States and the global economy faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The crisis was rooted in years of unconstrained excess on Wall Street, and prolonged complacency in Washington and in major financial capitals around the world. The crisis made painfully clear what we should have always known–that finance cannot be left to regulate itself; that consumer markets permitted to profit on the basis of tricks and traps rather than to compete on the basis of price and quality will, ultimately, put us all at risk; that financial markets function best where there are clear rules, transparency and accountability; and that markets break down, sometimes catastrophically, where there are not.

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Re-Energizing The Progressive Movement

By Zaid Jilani

This past Thursday, over 2,000 progressives — including the team from ThinkProgress (see )  — attended Netroots Nation 2011, where bloggers, elected officials, and activists came together to strategize about how to reinvigorate the US progressive movement and more effectively battle the right. During the four-day event, conference-goers attended panels on topics ranging from the Federal Reserve to the Arab Spring, heard speeches from members of Congress, peppered a high-ranking White House official with questions, and strategized with some of the nation’s biggest names in progressive politics. Although the blogosphere has often been derided by traditional media and the political class, Netroots Nation was a clear demonstration of a simple fact: the blogs and social media outlets that make up the netroots are a pivotal part of shaping not only the progressive movement but the very future of America.

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Eurozone Economics are Simple. It’s the Politics Stupid!



By Andrew Watt



The European authorities have had a year to address the sovereign-debt-come-banking crisis in the euro area. They have failed. The situation is much worse than a year ago, the latest manifestation being another downgrade of Greek sovereign debt. There is a real and present danger of contagion and the disorderly break-up of the euro area.

The economics of the problem are very simple. The economics of its solution scarcely more complicated. Alas, the political problems are thorny. For political, not economic reasons, default is looking as if it may be the default option. A break-up of the euro area is a distinct possibility. No-one can seriously assess the outcomes of such a scenario – although that does not stop some commentators pronouncing on the issue as if they did. In my view, it is highly risky. Above all it is completely unnecessary. It can and therefore should be avoided.

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