On stock market reaction to President Barack Obama's bank bailout plan:
I agree with you that the markets are not the best indicator of whether or not a policy is wise. It worries me that many pundits cede ultimate authority to "the market" as if it were some impersonal deity acting without self interest.
Some public policy decisions may be good for Main Street and not good for Wall Street - and vice versa. They need to be looked at in their entirety over time.
Posted by: Teresa Kopec - March 23
On the tiny fraction of federal dollars spent on train security:
What cost safety? We're all vulnerable by train, plane or automobile. London and Madrid by train. September 11, 2001 by plane(s) and, I believe, Heathrow by Jeep. Spending hundreds of millions (so trivial in the age of trillions) for uniformed, uninformed security stalking terminals to question grannies and babbling infants of their motives. These days, mixing politics with anything is problematic, bipartisan and terrifying. ... Where has all the money gone, long time passing? None are truly safe.
Posted by: John - March 24
On Baltimore's drug enforcement efforts vs. drug treatment:
A "right to treatment" or "treatment on demand" would certainly change the way the drug game is currently played, and promises to slow supply opportunities by diminishing demand. But what are the economics of the drug market? Does a decrease in demand mean a significant decrease in the price of drugs, and thus make more legitimate pursuits competitive with drug dealing? Or does it tempt those who don't currently use? I've seen studies about what drug dealers, officers, runners, etc., make on average, but have yet to see what the supply and demand curves look like for the city's drug market(s). I'm sure someone has taken a stab at this.
Posted by: Peter Sabonis - March 23
On Israel's new government:
I write this as a proud American Jew, who loves Israel, but am disgusted by its recent actions (this will win me a whole lot of new friends, I am sure). Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has a "win at all cost" mentality; not too different than that of the neoconservatives in the U.S. If Israel truly is a holy land, and is to be the land of the ideals that it was founded on, then its residents must demand more from the leaders to make peace with their neighbors. And U.S. Jews who know right from wrong need to say so. ... One can not blindly follow an "Israel can do no wrong" philosophy; it avoids the reality .
Posted by: Howard Salter - March 25
On U.S. efforts in Afghanistan:
One of the big challenges for the Obama administration in both Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan will be to create development projects with local ownership. Microcredit projects such as those created by Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank make a lot of sense. Working through NGOs that are based in country will also be very important (see Women for Women International's Afghanistan work for e.g.). I was also looking at the Afghan National Solidarity Project, which could be an approach that is scaled up on both sides of the Durand Line.
Posted by: Raj Purohit - March 24