The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

U.S. cap-and-trade choice inferior to carbon tax

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

President Barack Obama's first budget puts climate change at the heart of the administration's long-term economic plan. But despite the clear theoretical advantages of a simple carbon tax, he seems set to follow the EU and California in opting for a cap-and-trade system.

The budget plan commits the administration to work with Congress on an economy-wide emissions reductions program, based around cap-and-trade.

It also anticipates almost $650 billion in revenues over 10 years from selling these yet-to-be-agreed pollution permits, and proceeds to spend it on investment in clean technologies ($120 billion) and rebates for vulnerable families, businesses and communities ($525.7 billion).

In a sense the budget is a "wish list". While federal law requires the president to submit a unified budget, there is no obligation for Congress to consider it line by line, or even use it as a starting point in the annual tax-writing and spending process.

from The Great Debate:

In Cuba, low-hanging fruit for Obama

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

A look at a list of the foreign policy problems facing U.S. President Barack Obama could send the sunniest optimist into depression.

from The Great Debate:

Let housing find its clearing price

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The U.S. government should just get out of the way and allow the crash in U.S. housing; the market is too big, has too far to fall and Americans' finances are too strained.

President Barack Obama's measures, unveiled on Wednesday, are part of a $275 billion plan to try and stabilize the housing market and prevent foreclosures. It aims to encourage lenders and their agents to cut repayments for homeowners in difficulties to lower, more affordable levels as well as other steps.

from The Great Debate:

Goodbye to rugged American individualism?

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Shock!! Horror!! The United States is becoming more like Europe! The rugged individualism that makes up part of the country's self-image may be doomed. Paternalism threatens to throttle enterprise and initiative.

That has been the reaction of Republican leaders to the $787 billion stimulus package President Barack Obama signed this week after a contentious debate that echoed arguments made more than 80 years ago on the eve of the Great Depression.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: Obama’s foreign policy challenges

Willis Sparks-- Willis Sparks is a Global Macro analyst at the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group. The views expressed are his own. --

Few things in life amused my dad more than a good karate movie. I once asked what he found so funny about Bruce Lee’s jaw-dropping display of poise and power. “Nice of the bad guys to attack him one at a time,” he said. In the real world, threats don’t arrive single-file, like jets lining up for takeoff.

from The Great Debate:

The case for a broadband bailout

ericauchard1- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

By Eric Auchard

LONDON (Reuters) - With world economies fast running out of steam, it may seem an unlikely time for cash-strapped governments to discover universal broadband access as an urgent national funding priority.

Yet in this financial plague year, the Great Broadband Bailout of 2009 is rocketing up the political agenda as the global economic crisis deepens further.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: The next steps in the Middle East

President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell in the Oval Office of the White House.

President Barack Obama inherits a distinctly gloomy outlook for progress in settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Is change really possible?

Reuters asked Oliver McTernan, the director a UK charity called Forward Thinking and two experts from the Brookings Institution in Washington -- former Ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk and Kenneth Pollack -- what steps the Obama administration should take next in the Middle East.

from The Great Debate:

Clean up Washington: mission impossible?

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Can any U.S. administration avoid the fate spelled out in the following 12 words? "We were elected to change Washington and we let Washington change us."

from The Great Debate:

Goodbye bonuses, hello hedge funds

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The argument about bank bonus payments is as sterile as it is backward looking; compensation at government insured institutions is going nowhere but down.

The real action will be at those places like hedge funds, private equity houses and boutiques, which will try and trade less insurance for more autonomy and which will capture more market share, take on more risk and offer more reward. The question is how will they be regulated, how will they fund themselves and how will the rest of us be protected from the systemic risk they could easily represent.

from The Great Debate:

Executive pay caps: “stealth nationalization” or “political grandstanding”?

obama-geithner President Barack Obama set a $500,000 annual pay cap on Wednesday for executives at companies getting taxpayer bailouts as part of a wider process to clamp down on excessive corporate pay.

The new rules would require banks and other companies that get government funds in the future to abide by the new cap going forward, with any additional compensation being limited to restricted stock that does not vest until government funds are paid back.

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