Not The Costello Memoirs:

Crikey: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 8). Apologies are due to the crew at Sydney’s Gleebooks, for this tip from last week, “The Costello Memoirs is now selling for $12 to Sydney Uni alumni via Glebe Books”. Gleebooks events manager Morgan Smith points out that “This is not the book but is the concession price for tickets to the event with Peter Costello, Peter Coleman in conversation with Jana Wendt at the Seymour Centre on Thursday 2nd October Cost $15/$12 conc. USYD alumni and gleeclub. Bookings: Gleebooks 029660 2333 or more info here” He also asked if we’d give the event a small plug.

Wall Street crisis — A new world order?:

John Goldbaum writes: Re. “Quiggin: Wall Street crisis will spare no-one” (Friday, item 2). Here’s a novel idea to encourage savings and deleverage the unsustainable growth of debt. Offer depositors high interest rates. Ask borrowers to pay higher interest rates. There will be no need for securitisation at all. Banks will be safer than houses. Asset price inflation won’t happen but real growth will. Listed companies can go back to raising equity capital on stock exchanges rather than over-gearing their balance sheets with debt.

Small and medium sized businesses can borrow from the banks without having to compete with listed companies but they won’t pursue pipe-dreams if money costs more. Successful management of innovation and implementation will still reap rewards but there will be no more entrepreneurs of the carpet bagger variety. Replacing cheap debt with expensive debt will encourage saving and investing — who would have thought of that?

This is the depression America has to have, but it is not the end of the world. China saves and invests. China has a middle class which is larger than America’s. This is the Chinese century. With the US dollar falling by half, the Chinese can become the consumers which capitalism requires. Americans can operate the cheap restaurants and laundromats for a change. The rich Chinese will need good housekeepers, cleaners and ironing ladies. Good old American know-how!

Brian Haill writes: Did anyone else notice that the dreadful event of 9/11 that ripped out New York’s financial heart, has just been virtually duplicated, but who knows how many lives have been wrecked, or stand to be ruined as a consequence. The 9/11 destruction of the twin-towered World Trade Centre, was virtually repeated this very September, seven years on, with the implosion of those two huge American financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that’s now drawn the United States to the edge of a financial abyss threatening the whole world.

The Fannie and Freddie bailout was just three days shy of the actual 9/11 anniversary date, and the shock collapse of other hugely powerful American financial institutions, following suit like tumbling dominoes, are producing a ground zero with a global perimeter. Wealth and envy were cited as the causes of 9/11, but 9/11/08 came down to pure greed.

Those, including Prime Minister Rudd, who simply clamour for the speedy handout of one trillion dollars to the guilty, without prescribing a penalty and a cap on payments to greedy finance titans and bank bosses will again ignore the lessons of history and be doomed to suffer the consequences at their peril. The lessons are as much for Australia to learn as the United States.

Keith Perkins writes: Accuse me of having a suspicious mind if you like but I am firmly convinced that there is some connection between the Hadron collider experiment in the French-Swiss Alps and the Black-Hole that has suddenly appeared in the US economy.

Julian Gillespie writes: A question for the economic scholars: if the downturn in the financial markets has wiped-out billions upon billions in value, then how does the bailout worth at first glance of USD$350 billion with a possible further USD$350 billion really create inflationary pressures — doesn’t this crash in the market mean we are seeing money vaporise, therefore leading to deflation, where the bailout cash just replaces some of what went up in smoke?

Rich pensioners:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “Coalition continues pushing money to rich pensioners” (yesterday, item 14). Eva Cox is offended that “relatively well off” pensioners might be undeserving recipients of the Coalition’s push to increase the pension. These supposedly fat cat pensioners worked hard all their lives, paying more tax while also sensibly squirreling away savings for a rainy day. Despite their efforts they were forced to claim a government pension when they retired. And now Ms Cox wants to segregate any increase to prevent the “better off” from receiving their natural entitlement. Shame.

The Joint Strike Fighter:

Matthew Brennan writes: Re. “What Defence didn’t tell about the Joint Strike Fighter” (Friday, item 17). If the Sukhoi Su-30 is that much better than anything the Yanks have got to offer, then perhaps Kevin should pop into to Moscow on his way back from Washington. I’m sure Vlad would be willing to do us a deal. But make sure they are painted green and gold and have a few Aussie Flags in reasonably visible locations.

Crikey’s US coverage:

Moira Smith writes: Neil Thompson (Friday, comments) wrote: “Your correspondents are committed to Obama and can find no criticism of him.” It seems to me that though Rundle would like Obama to win, he has plenty of criticisms of his tactics and voices them regularly, e.g. “if these people don’t win, they need to put up against a wall.” Neil recommends that if Crikey wants its coverage to be taken seriously, it’s got to “move up a notch or ten” — is he a subscriber? I appreciate Guy Rundle’s highly informative and amusing commentary, and gladly pay for it. Perhaps Neil needs to find something different to read each day — The Australian for example (which I could access for free on the web, though I prefer not to).


Geoff Perston writes: Re. “Media briefs: Malcolm Turnbull makes small people cry, fighting the censors in China” (yesterday, item 24). This media brief excerpt from ‘the new vision’ makes Australia’s dismal broadband performance look even worse — if that’s possible. “Uganda has had blogs for some years now (over 200) on various topics…” How is it that a country with a per capita GDP of US$900 (in comparison to Australia’s US$30,000) has apparently had — along with its high rate of poverty and massive energy shortfalls — a functioning internet service for 200 years? Telstra; please explain.

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