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from The Great Debate:

Obama’s Plan: One Nation, Under Government

You’ve probably read that the series of speeches President Barack Obama started giving Wednesday are a “pivot” to the economy designed to rev things up. Well, they’re not. Obama’s speeches will be no less than the manifesto of a leftist president who plans to spend his remaining time in office installing as much of his big government “project” as possible by whatever means he can get away with.

If you got the wrong message, it’s because Washington reporters too often have a poor understanding of people who have a systematic philosophy and truly believe in what they are doing. Reporters,  focused on who is up this day and who’s down the next, have difficulty discerning the intent of someone like Obama -- who is thinking much more long term.

Obama, with his speeches, is intent on laying out the rationale and building public support for “fundamentally transforming America” -- as he promised five days before being elected in 2008.

Speaking Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, Obama presented a statist vision that should send chills down the spine of anyone who believes that free markets, not government, create wealth.

from India Insight:

Will Nitin Gadkari make a difference?

INDIA ELECTIONSNitin Gadkari has taken over as BJP President. At 52, he is the youngest BJP chief so far.

In the first of his interviews after taking over, Gadkari said he would like some of the old guard like Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Govindacharya to return.

from India Insight:

Does India want its ‘Metro man’ to resign?

If the early comments on the Great Debate are anything to go by, it seems there is still a lot of goodwill towards Elattuvalapil Sreedharan.

The man behind the Delhi metro, seen as one of India's most successful infrastructure projects, resigned on Sunday after part of a rail bridge in the capital collapsed and killed six people.

from The Great Debate:

Blunting Obama’s tax cuts

Christopher Swann-- Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Obama's tax cuts were meant to be the first strike force of the stimulus package. The main selling point -- other than political popularity -- was speed.

Higher take-home pay in April and May would be the first evidence many Americans would see of their government's broad effort to rescue the economy. The hope was that this would prop up spending long before lumbering public work projects could get under way.

from Summit Notebook:

AUDIO – Wait a minute, we have to pay for all this stuff?

Unfortunately, we do.

All the infrastructure projects in the world sound great! They look awesome on paper, they'll make people's lives better and they'll let us go visit our friends and families in about half the time it used to take.

It'll be a dream world!!

Well, unfortunately, we are going to have to pay for all these projects at some point and all of the guests at this year's Reuters Infrastructure Summit acknowledge that the paying is the hardest part.

from Summit Notebook:

AUDIO – Everything has a cost

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Or bridge. Or turnpike.

Every project we're talking about at Reuters first-ever Reuters Infrastructure Summit has an enormous cost -- sometimes in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And governments are looking for ways to pay for it all.

Enter public-private partnerships (or P3s as we cool, infrastructure types like to say these days). In these deals, governments will lease or sell an asset to a group of investors for a certain big up-front fee and then they will pay the government a certain per-year fee for the right.

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