FROM Ron Scherer
The Growing Credit Crisis President Bush signed the " economic rescue " into law Friday but the stock markets are declining anyway in New York and around the world. Today, the Federal Reserve said it would buy up commercial paper to get lending started again. Will taxpayers be saddled with more debt? Meantime, state governments, normally safe investments in tough times, may not be able to borrow what they need for schools, police and local governments. California, the eighth largest economy in the world, may alone come up $7 billion short. Will states be going to Washington, too? We hear more about the credit squeeze from local and global perspectives.
Risk Assessment, Climate Change and Insurance Rates Last year, the global insurance industry saw revenues of more than $3 trillion--a third more than revenues from oil and gas, and it adds up to enormous economic and political clout. In the late 60's, insurers lost 1 to 2% of premiums to weather-related catastrophes. From 1984 to 2004, the average was 3.3%. Last year, it leaped to 14% because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Hurricanes in the Gulf, forest fires in the West, and rising sea levels that could mean catastrophic losses are turning the insurance industry into believers in global warming. So it's looking not just at past weather patterns but at what might be next, and using its clout to support hybrid cars, "green" buildings and other strategies to reduce greenhouse emissions. Insurers could also have much to say about where Americans locate their homes and businesses. Are they also using climate change as a way to jack up their rates and dump their riskier customers?
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.