Scary Economic Observation

Glenn Greenwald, a commentator in Salon, posted a scary observation in which he compares the U.S. economy to Russia and Argentina. He quotes Desmond Lachman, an IMF expert on emerging markets and former Salomon banker, who notes how we’ve seen the same thing in those emerging markets.

In an emerging market, a banking crisis like this looks like a liquidity crisis, and the government tries to shore things up with an injection of cash. In fact, it’s a solvency crisis. Outsiders like the IMF generally recommend to fix such things with transparency not with cash. Otherwise the local oligarchs will manipulate the crisis to get rich off the ‘recovery’ money. Meanwhile, the IMF and such require the government to reduce spending on social programs to pay for the enrichment of the fat cats.

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The New Hastings Bridge – What’s Up?

Our US 61 bridge is supposed to be replaced Real Soon Now. After the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, someone somewhere in MNDOT was told to take bridge safety seriously. So they reviewed every bridge in Minnesota. We’re told that our very own US 61 bridge was among the worst, and may have been the worst that was not abruptly closed.

Last week they hosted a meeting at City Hall about potential bridge designs. It was definitely worth the trip. While the bridge concepts themselves were worth discussing, even better were backdoor discussions of other improvements, notably a Spiral Bridge-like pigtail connecting the bridge’s walkway with downtown. There’s also discussion of using the bridge project as an excuse to get rid of the power substation eyesore on the river bank.

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