Friday, August 16, 2002

2 Times Op-eds

Krugman on Japan:

Back when I first got professionally obsessed with Japan's problems, around four years ago, I made myself a mental checklist of reasons that Japan's decade of stagnation could not happen to the United States. It went like this:

1. The Fed has plenty of room to cut interest rates, which should be enough to deal with any eventuality.

2. The U.S. long-term budget position is very strong, so there's plenty of room for fiscal stimulus in the unlikely event interest rate cuts aren't enough.

3. We don't have to worry about an Asian-style loss of confidence in our business sector, because we have excellent corporate governance.

4. We may have a stock bubble, but we don't have a real estate bubble.

Cf. the Fed's paper on Japan.

Kristoff on women:

Conservatives are right to object to China's often brutal one-child policy. But only Washington could come up with a solution to Chinese problems that involves killing teenage girls in Burundi.

Aside from cutting off funding for the population agency, the Bush administration is busy devastating third-world women in other ways. It is trying to block a landmark international treaty on the rights of women, even though the State Department initially backed it. The treaty, known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or Cedaw, would make no difference in America but would be one more tool to help women in countries where discrimination means death.

The Bush administration is also undercutting international efforts to use conferences to bolster support for rural health care for poor women. For example, the Bushies tied up negotiations for this month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg by insisting that documents be purged of phrases like "reproductive health services" that they think connote abortion.

My rage is exhausted for the week.

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