Opinion

The Great Debate

Getting a summer job: Entrepreneurship for teens

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

It’s July, teen unemployment has risen to 24 percent, and you—or your teenage children—still don’t have a summer job. This is a peculiarly American problem.

In Nepal, according to Hudson Institute research assistant and Nepalese citizen Astha Strestha, “teens just hang around all summer and spend their parents’ money.”

In France, summer vacations are shorter, only 6 weeks, and teens try to stay with relatives outside the city.

In America, summer vacation lasts the better part of three months, and teens work either to earn spending money, contribute to college tuition payments, or simply because they think that they should have a job.

America’s spies and a language crisis

Bernd Debusmann– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. –

“There is a great deal about Iran that we do not know…The United States lacks critical information needed for analysts to make many of their judgments with confidence about Iran.”

That was the verdict of a Congressional committee on U.S. intelligence policy two years ago. How valid it still is was highlighted by Iran’s June elections and their turbulent aftermath.

The tough questions after Madoff

Matthew Goldstein– Matthew Goldstein is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Even as Ponzi king Bernard Madoff goes away to prison for the rest of his life and then some, there are still so many unanswered questions — both big and fundamental.

Were Madoff’s sons involved? What did his wife Ruth know? Were the operators of the giant feeder funds that sucked in tens of billions of dollars in investor money in on the charade?

Reflections on Iran

John Kemp– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own —

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of much western comment on the unfolding crisis in Iran has been its over-simplification and lack of historical awareness. Perspectives are shaped by a single issue (western concerns about whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program) and the desire to draw a simple Manichean distinction between good guys (liberal-democrats) and bad ones (clerical-authoritarians).

The reality is far more complicated.

Part of the problem is a truncated sense of history. For most western commentators, the history of Iran’s troubled relations with the west starts in 1979 with the triumphant return of the glowering Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at the head of the revolution which swept away Shah Reza Pahlavi’s western-backed regime and replaced it with a new Islamic Republic.

What will the climate change bill do to your job?

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

Next Thursday, just in time for the July 4 holiday weekend, America’s unemployment rate is forecast to rise from 9.4 percent to 9.6 percent, well above rates in other industrialized countries.

Yet today the House of Representatives is rushing to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, even though the bill was incomplete yesterday and congressmen have not yet had the opportunity to analyze it. The bill would send America’s unemployment rate even higher.

Michael Jackson’s troubled financial legacy

Alexander Smith– Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Michael Jackson’s will is bound to be as bizarre as the rest of the singer’s turbulent life. But one thing is for sure, the arguments over his deeply flawed financial legacy will keep lawyers busy for years.

Top of the list will be sorting out Jackson’s sell-out comeback tour, which was due to kick off next month. There are bound to be losses, insurance claims and the prospect of an empty London O2 Arena for 50 nights during the peak summer period.

Fee bonanza spells more trouble for banks

Alex Smith-GreatDebate– Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Investment banks are going to have a lot of explaining to do. After the lows of 2008, and despite the mauling they’ve had from politicians and the public, 2009 is going to be a bumper year for those that lived to tell the tale. The banks have pocketed an incredible $16 billion in fees in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters first half data on deals and fee income, released on Friday. Click here for related news.

True, this is down from Q2 2008, when fees were almost $24 billion. But it should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been watching — often in disbelief — the huge amount of capital raising that has been going on in both the equity and bond markets.

On the Bernanke interrogation

James Pethokoukis – James Pethokoukis is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress about his involvement in the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger was a lot like an FOMC statement: short and unadorned, yet open to much interpretation.

When the Federal Reserve chairman wasn’t repeatedly saying “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recollect,” he was matter-of-factly stating that he didn’t intend to threaten Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis with termination if he didn’t go through with the Merrill deal.

Obama, Iran and a meaningless phrase

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

It’s time to kill the international community. The phrase, that is.

Usually shorthand for the governments of “the West,” the phrase is over-used (a Google search produces 447 million hits) and under-thought. It is often misleading and sometimes plain wrong. As in President Barack Obama’s news conference remarks this week on Iran’s post-election crackdown on protest:

“The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days.”

Today’s markets need noise filters

Agnes Crane – Agnes T. Crane is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are her own –

Reasons people give to explain the quick switch-back movements in stocks and other risky assets are becoming, well, just bizarre.

On Monday, it was the World Bank’s dire outlook for the global economy — no matter that the organization’s president already said output was likely to decline by close to three percent earlier this month.

  •