Monday, 6 July 2020

Brace Yourself for Trump's Great Recession


Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich warns of the looming Great Depression brought on by Trump and the GOP's refusal to act to mitigate the damage wrought by this pandemic.

Trump and businesses demanded America "reopen" to revive the economy. But we’ve reopened too soon, before COVID-19 is under control. So we're needing to close or partly close again, which will prolong the economic downturn and wreak even more havoc on millions of Americans’ livelihoods. The wave of evictions and foreclosures in the next 2 months will be unlike anything America has experienced since the Great Depression. And the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits at the end of July will leave unemployed Americans with a 60% income reduction and no stimulus check to fall back on. Meanwhile, state and local governments are forced to gut vital public services like low-income housing and health care — even as over 16.2 million households have lost employer-provided health insurance.

So what’s Trump’s and Mitch McConnell’s response to this looming catastrophe?

Do nothing.

This is lunacy. The priority must be getting control over this pandemic and helping Americans survive it physically and financially. Extra unemployment benefits must be extended. The HEROES Act must be signed into law. Moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures must be extended. If it’s necessary to go back to sheltering in place to contain this pandemic, we must be willing to do so. This shouldn't be controversial. It's the bare minimum of what our government must do to prevent an even worse economic and human catastrophe.

Anything less is indefensible.


Saturday, 20 June 2020

Amazon Launches Saudi Arabia Shopping Site despite CEO's Dispute with Kingdom


REUTERS: Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday launched a website for shoppers in Saudi Arabia, showing its continued business interests there despite a public dispute between Riyadh and the company’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos.

The website is a re-branding for Saudi customers of Souq.com, a Middle East e-commerce platform that Amazon acquired in 2017. Shoppers’ account information with Souq automatically transferred to the new address, amazon.sa, Amazon said on the site. The company similarly converted Souq’s website in the United Arab Emirates to a re-branded portal, amazon.ae, last year. » | Jeffrey Dastin | Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Monday, 15 June 2020

To Save the British Economy, Don't Just Open Shops – Give People the Cash to Spend


THE GUARDIAN: Rishi Sunak needs to think radically by introducing a universal basic income until this crisis passes

My local high street has refitted itself for today’s reopening of non-essential shops, enabling customers to stay 2 metres apart. Businesses have spent thousands in a frantic attempt to stave off imminent bankruptcy. Yet within a week that money may have to be spent again, as Boris Johnson teases that he may change the distancing rule from 2 metres to 1 metre.

This is toy-town government. Nowhere else in Europe seems to be behaving in this way. The image is of toffs in secure jobs playing maths with other people’s lives.

Shopkeepers are victims not of any disease but of a panicked political response to disease, to deprive them of trade. Plenty of other countries, among them Japan, Sweden and South Korea, did not close their retail sectors. With scientists refusing to take sides on the 2-metre rule, the block seems to lie with ministers who so inflated people’s fear they now dare not return to normality. » | Simon Jenkins | Monday, June 15, 2020

Monday, 1 June 2020

Sir Rocco Forte, Hotelier – BBC HARDtalk


No sector of the global economy has been harder hit by Covid-19 than the travel and hospitality industry. Millions of workers dependent on travel and tourism have been laid off around the world. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Sir Rocco Forte, boss of a string of luxury hotels and a powerful voice in an industry chafing under strict lockdown rules. What future is there for an industry that depends on mobility and confidence?

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Coronavirus: Rutger Bregman on Human Nature and Covid-19 – BBC HARDtalk


In times of crisis we learn plenty about who we really are – and so it is that the global coronavirus pandemic is revealing truths about humankind, and how we balance self and collective interest. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to writer and historian Rutger Bregman whose book ‘Humankind: A Hopeful History’ is making waves around the world. Do we humans massively underestimate our capacity to change things for the better?

Raghuram Rajan, Economist – BBC HARDtalk


The Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world economy into a deep recession. How long will it last and what kind of recovery can we expect? That in part depends on what governments do now. Should they be piling up future debt to cope with today’s crisis? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Governor of India’s Reserve Bank and IMF Chief Economist Raghuram Rajan. Do the old rules of fiscal discipline no longer apply?