Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mera plåga nu och hopp senare, säger Obama

Kommentar: Finansminister Borgs vårbudget (15 april 2009) är alltför passiv i förhållande till behoven nu i Sverige. Han borde dragit in det tredje steget i skattesänkningen och använt pengarna i stället till investeringar - i infrastruktur, kommunsektorn (redan i år), yrkesvux och påbörja en sanering/renovering av miljonprogrammet i vårt hyresbostadsbestånd. (Behov finns för ett tio-årigt rullande underhållsprogram här.)

Kommunsektorn i Sverige har ju i år tappat 17 miljarder i skatteunderlag p g a den djupa krisen och arbetslösheten växer nu raskt och fortsätter att göra det också under 2010. Och ingenting gör regeringen åt den rekordusla a-kassan (en halv miljon står utanför den nu och ersättningen är på sin höjd 50 % av inkomstbortfallet). I regeringens vårbudget saknas offensiva satsningar inom såväl utbildningspolitiken som arbetsmarknadspolitiken. Av de 10 miljarder kronor extra som regeringen satsar på arbetsmarknadspolitik under 2009 går merparten till ökade utgifter för a-kassan.

Om fler länder argumenterar och agerar på samma sätt som finansminister Borg i Sverig kommer krisen att fördjupas i en än värre nedåtgående spiral. Tidskriften Economist - knappast en tidskrift med vänstersympatier - hävdar att den stora risken nu är att regeringarna i ex.vis de europeiska länderna gör för lite för att bekämpa krisen.

Men i USA kan det som sägs i New York Times - se nedan - sannolikt vara rätt, alltså att man där befinner sig i "botten" nu och där håller på att plana ut. USA befinner sig tidigare i "konjunkturfasen" än Europa och kommer då också att vända upp lite snabbare än Europa (och vissa andra delar av världen). USA brukar också ha snabbare upp- och nedgångar i konjunkturcyklerna så även det spelar roll här.

Och den här gången har ju USA hamnat mycket djupare i "den ekonomiska svackan" än tidigare. Så sannolikt planar väl nedgången ut nu där men vägen tillbaka och uppåt kommer väl vad det lider men dröjer nog än - också där.

Men mycket talar för att krisen - djup och svår - på många håll i världen, ex.vis Europa. Så det kommer nog att vara fortsatt tufft och med hög och växande stor arbetslöshet också under 2010 och in i 2011.

Det är nog, trots allt, den mest troliga scenariot.Men visst, i USA faller det nog inte mera nu utan planar ut på "botten" innan den där uppgången sedan gradvis börjar komma...Så vitt jag begriper det hela...
/Robert Björkenwall (

News Analysis/The New York Times

Obama Stands Firm on a Sweeping Agenda
BUSINESS / ECONOMY | April 15, 2009/The New York Times

Obama Sees More Pain Now but Hope Later on Economy

"President Obama said the battered economy was showing signs that it was beginning to recover but warned Americans that more pain still lay ahead.
AS he spoke about the economy on Tuesday, President Obama invoked the parable in the Sermon on the Mount about two houses, one built on sand only to be blown away in a storm and another built on rock impervious to the swirling winds.

Mr. Obama was trying to explain why he wants not only to revive the sagging economy but to virtually reinvent it with sweeping changes in health care, energy and education. Without deeper reform, he argued, the economy would only topple again later.

But as he confronted critics in a wide-ranging hourlong speech to students and faculty members at Georgetown University, he also sought to shift his expansive economic program off the political sands onto a firmer foundation.

As Mr. Obama acknowledged, many Americans think he is taking on too much at once, or, conversely, not doing enough at all, or just wondering how all the pieces of his agenda fit together. A flurry of government action has yet to reverse the nation’s economic calamity, and while Mr. Obama said again that he detects “glimmers of hope,” he pleaded for patience from an instant-gratification society that usually responds to crisis with “a lurch from shock to trance.”

“It’s more than most Congresses and most presidents have to deal with in a lifetime,” Mr. Obama said. “But we have been called to govern in extraordinary times. And that requires an extraordinary sense of responsibility to ourselves, to the men and women who sent us here, to the many generations whose lives will be affected for good or for ill because of what we do here.”

Mr. Obama chose to give what aides described as a “major speech” shortly before leaving Thursday for Trinidad and Mexico, his second foreign trip of the month. It served as a reminder to his domestic audience that he remains focused on the economy and an effort to frame the debate before Congress returns from its spring recess next week.

Skeptics, including some in his own party, have questioned whether it makes sense for Mr. Obama to focus on expanding health care coverage, curbing greenhouse gases and other priorities when jobs continue to disappear at a dizzying rate, the banking sector remains in limbo, the auto industry is hanging over the precipice and the federal budget deficit is soaring.

Mr. Obama used the address to link those disparate issues and present an integrated vision for the future of American capitalism when the recession eventually ends. He defended himself against those who accuse him of bankrupting the nation and those who argue that he should be more aggressive about taking over banks and spending even more money.

“I know there’s a criticism out there that my administration has been spending with reckless abandon, pushing a liberal social agenda while mortgaging our children’s future,” Mr. Obama said. But he rejected that characterization and said it was time to make difficult decisions. “There’s been a tendency to spend a lot of time scoring political points instead of rolling up sleeves to solve real problems.”

He chided critics of his spending plans and recommitted himself to addressing the entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that consume so much of the budget.

“Let’s not kid ourselves and suggest that we can solve this problem by trimming a few earmarks or cutting the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts,” he said. “If we want to get serious about fiscal discipline, and I do,” then the country’s leaders must “get serious about entitlement reform.”

That drew a rebuke from Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, who accused the president of not being serious himself about entitlements or deficits.

“Talk is cheap in Washington,” Mr. Boehner’s office said in a statement, “so the question to the administration continues to be: what’s the plan, and if we should ‘get serious’ about it, why did you choose to ignore entitlement reform in your budget?”

In defending his commitment to fiscal restraint, Mr. Obama continued to cite a statistic widely scorned by budget specialists. He again claimed that “we’ve identified $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.”

Three-quarters of those “reductions,” however, reflect assumptions that the nation would have had as many troops in Iraq in 10 years as it does now, even though President George W. Bush signed an agreement with Baghdad before leaving office that would result in the withdrawal of all American forces within three years.

Even as he skirmished with critics on the right, Mr. Obama pushed back at critics on the left who accuse him of being too timid, and ask, as he described their grievance, “ ‘Why aren’t you tougher on the banks?’ ” He said he had not embraced pre-emptive government takeovers because in the end such a move would cost taxpayers more and undermine confidence. “Government should practice the same principle as doctors,” he said. “First, do no harm.”

In listing his priorities, Mr. Obama again insisted that health care be overhauled by the end of the year, and he embraced the “courageous set of reforms” proposed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to cancel costly weapons programs.

He was less precise about his timing for a market-based cap on carbon emissions, which are blamed for climate change. Democrats in Congress left a cap out of the budget outline passed in separate form by the House and Senate. Critics have said a cap would hurt industry and cost energy consumers during a recession.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing such cap-and-trade legislation, but appear uncertain that it could pass this year. Mr. Obama agreed that “we have to take into account the costs of transition” to a new system. But he added: “We can no longer delay putting a framework for a clean energy economy in place. That needs to be done now.”

Such initiatives, he argued, are every bit as necessary as solving the banking or housing crises. “If we don’t lay this new foundation now,” he said, “it won’t be long before we’re right back where we are today.”


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