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?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?