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(Courtesy of The Guardian UK) I wonder if anyone from the PQ or BQ heard or read about this Probably not seeing they dislike the English language. So I guess Canadian / Quebec history is safe for now, until one of them comes out of their narrow-minded shell and sees this
Le renouvellement perpétuel qui se passe dans les 50 états et milliers de villes que forment les USA. State of renewal The federal government could learn some lessons from the states Jun 2nd 2012 | from the print edition THE American political system, as all the world thinks it knows, is gridlocked, not to mention dysfunctional and broken. The tea-maddened Republicans who seized control of the House of Representatives are holding Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate to ransom, refusing either to balance the federal budget or to pass any of the administration’s legislation without first getting swingeing cuts in taxes for the rich and in aid for the poor. In the White House Mr Obama is too busy planning his re-election to govern, while the economy races towards a “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect on January 1st next year unless they can find consensus; that seems more elusive than at any time since the end of the civil war. All true, up to a point; but not the whole story. Across America, most obviously in the battered Midwest and the property-busted sunnier climes of Florida and Nevada, a turnaround is under way. Thank many things for that: lower energy prices, recovering demand in at least a few places abroad, exceptionally loose monetary policy at home and the effects of the stimulus that Mr Obama was able to push through Congress before he lost control of it at the 2010 mid-terms. But also thank the fact that gridlock in Washington does not mean gridlock in the real drivers of America’s prosperity, its 50 competing states and its hundreds of self-governing cities. It is in those states and those cities that America is endlessly renewing itself. It is at city and state level, for instance, that America’s education system is being rewired, thanks to the independent or “charter” school revolution that was pioneered in places as diverse as New York City and Texas and is growing all the time. Experiments with health care in states as far apart in every way as Utah and Massachusetts pre-dated anything done at the federal level. A clutch of new Republican governors elected at those mid-terms have been driving forward the reform of the public sector, often controversially but in the long-term interest of their states. In Republican Indiana Mitch Daniels, the governor, has made his state the only one in the Midwest to ban the closed shop; other states in the region may have to do the same if they don’t want to be left behind. And, it bears repeating, since states and cities are not supposed to run deficits, it is at these levels that most progress has been made in restoring public finances. Jon Kasich, the new Republican governor of Ohio, for instance, has made up an $8 billion shortfall while cutting taxes. A number of states, mostly Republican ones, have “rainy-day funds” which saw them through the worst of the post-Lehman storm, though the federal government also helped a lot. Slashing red tape and opening government to inspection by the public by means of “sunshine laws” have also played their part; here again, the record of Republican states has been better than Democratic ones. California, for the eighth year in a row, has just been voted the worst state in which to do business, with New York (also strongly Democratic) a close second, thanks to high taxes and excessive regulation. According to Chief Executive magazine, which did the survey, all top ten spots are held by Republican states, with Texas in the lead. As we report here, a feature of the past year or so of the recovery is that among the dozen “swing states” that will determine the outcome of the election, unemployment has fallen by more than the national average. You might think that this is bad news for Mr Romney: his pitch is that Mr Obama has failed to sort out the economy and that he can do better. Actually, it is potentially good news for the man who this week clinched his nomination with a spectacular victory in Texas. Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, probably the five states most critical to the election, are all run by new small-government Republican deficit hawks. Mr President, learn from your enemies The newcomers do not deserve all the credit, of course. The bail-out of the car industry, for instance, was what saved Michigan. Yet Mr Obama should take note. Sound public finances, opening up government, taking on unions, privatising services: the mid-terms showed that there is a great appetite in America for these right-of-centre remedies. http://www.economist.com/node/21556247
Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The Senate rejected a $14 billion bailout plan for U.S. automakers, in effect ending congressional efforts to aid General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which may run out of cash early next year. “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said before the vote in Washington. “It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.” The Bush administration will “evaluate our options in light of the breakdown in Congress,” spokesman Tony Fratto said. The Senate thwarted the bailout plan when a bid to cut off debate on the bill the House passed yesterday fell short of the required 60 votes. The vote on ending the debate was 52 in favor, 35 against. Earlier, negotiations on an alternate bailout plan failed. GM said in a statement, “We are deeply disappointed that agreement could not be reached tonight in the Senate despite the best bipartisan efforts. We will assess all of our options to continue our restructuring and to obtain the means to weather the current economic crisis.” Reid said millions of Americans, “not only the autoworkers, but people who sell cars, car dealerships, people who work on cars,” will be affected. “It’s going to be a very, very bad Christmas for a lot of people as a result of what takes place here tonight.” Asian stocks and U.S. index futures immediately began falling after Reid’s comments. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slumped 2.2 percent to 86.13 as of 12:33 p.m. Tokyo time, while March futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 3.4 percent. ‘Deja Vu’ “Remember when the first financial bailout bill failed” in Congress in late September, said Martin Marnick, head of equity trading at Helmsman Global Trading Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The markets in Asia started the slide. Deja vu, this looks like it’s happening again.” Congress approved a financial-rescue plan weeks later. Senator George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, urged the Bush administration to save the automakers by tapping the $700 billion bailout fund approved earlier this year for the financial industry. “If this is the end, then I think they have to step in and do it -- it’s needed even though they don’t want to do it,” Voinovich said. Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd, who helped lead the negotiations, said the final unresolved issue was a Republican demand that unionized autoworkers accept a reduction in wages next year, rather than later, to match those of U.S. autoworkers who work for foreign-owned companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp. ‘Saddened’ “More than saddened, I’m worried this evening about what we’re doing with an iconic industry,” Dodd said. “In the midst of deeply troubling economic times we are going to add to that substantially.” Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee, who negotiated with Dodd, said, “I think there’s still a way to make this happen.” Earlier today, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino warned that an agreement was necessary for the U.S. economy. “We believe the economy is in such a weakened state right now that adding another possible loss of 1 million jobs is just something” it cannot “sustain at the moment,” Perino said. Also earlier, South Dakota Republican John Thune suggested that if talks collapsed, the Bush administration might aid automakers with funds from the financial-rescue plan approved by Congress in October. “I think that is where they go next,” Thune said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they explore all options.” The Bush administration thus far has opposed that option, which was favored by Democrats. To contact the reporters on this story: Nicholas Johnston in Washington at [email protected] Hughes in Washington at [email protected] Last Updated: December 11, 2008 23:34 EST http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aDkK4lEZsSsA&refer=home