Topic Discussion – Current Crises

August 23, 2014

From: Padmini Arhant

Dear Citizens,

The topic discussion on Current Crises is scheduled in approximately 60 mins to your local time.

Your attention is welcome.

Thank you for your interest.

Padmini Arhant

Economic Recovery Plan (ERP)

February 3, 2009

It is obvious from the headlines and news editorials across the nation that the economy is in deep recession.

San Jose Mercury News January 31, 2009 – Thank you.

GDP plunges at 3.8%, worst slide in quarter century

Autos – Valley car sales hit 15-year low – and 2009 looks worse

Wall Street – Worst January ever as Dow drops 8.8% this month

Washington – bruising battle over stimulus, Obama acts to bolster labor

Mortgage crisis spreading to affluent areas.

Meanwhile – Exxon Mobil sets U.S. record; $45.2 billion annual profit.

World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland concludes that the world is dealing with financial crisis with no solutions.


Optimistic View

Despite such gloom and doom, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

A thorough review and analysis of the problems that primarily contributed to the current economic crisis is essential in understanding the fundamental cause of the present economic recession.

Then addressing each issue on priority basis including the failure of various stimulus packages by the previous administration must be an integral part of the remedial measures for the economic recovery.

It is common knowledge that the origin of the current recession stems from various sources,

1. Subprime mortgage crisis contributed to housing market decline.

2. The major components attributing to the decline in housing prices are foreclosures due to default homeowners and delinquencies in mortgage payments.

3. Financial institutions holding high-risk mortgage backed securities sought bailout of their insolvency with taxpayers’ generosity.

4. Banks and other financial institutions decided to stranglehold the credit market leading to liquidity freeze with an adverse effect on consumer based industry represented by small businesses, retail outlets, medium corporations and homeowners alike.

5. Small businesses, Retail industry and medium corporations as the foundations of the economic infrastructure could not survive or sustain growth in the absence of credit facilities blocked by the financial institutions.

6. As stated earlier on numerous occasions, the collapse of small businesses, retail industry and medium corporations have a domino effect on wholesale manufacturers ultimately owned by major corporations in any industry.

7. Hence, the layoffs triggered from the bottom of the economic pyramid spread across the aisle and all the way to the top affecting emerging and viable corporations in many sectors.

8. As a result, the unemployment rate went soaring up to 7.8% with most states reporting double digit in this respect.

9. The credit crunch combined with housing market crisis significantly hurt investor confidence and led to the selling frenzy of stocks and investments by short term and new investors in the stock market. In addition, the current static in the credit market and the general economy has forced average consumers to live off their investments and savings.

10. Despite, capital infusion through bailouts and consistent productivity by all industries, the dismal stock market performance is related to poor earnings from the sluggish consumer spending in the competitive market and globalized economy.

Therefore, Consumer spending is the catalyst for revival of the job sector and corporate growth with desired earnings eventually reflecting in the stock market performance.


Primary Cause and Effect

Housing market crisis – Decline in housing prices due to Foreclosures, Delinquency in Mortgage Payments with no refinancing opportunities.

Liquidity freeze or Credit Crunch – Small businesses, Retail industry and Medium Corporations deprived of cash flow by banks and financial institutions declared bankruptcy and subsequently the manufacturing sectors as well as the large Corporations producing mass layoffs.

Inadequate Consumer spending – Because of rising unemployment and scarce financial resources with no access to home equity other than dwindling investments in savings and stock holdings.

Lack of Accountability and Transparency from previous bailouts – Wall Street bailout of $700 billion have not been followed through with Corporate executives rewarding themselves to a tune of $20 billion in extravagant bonuses and perks.

Inaction and dormant role by the Congressional Oversight Committee set up for overseeing the purpose of bailout i.e. activate lending to the deserving and qualified business sectors and homeowners has further exacerbated the credit crunch.

Alarming Deficit – Multi-trillion dollar deficit accumulated by the previous administration from excessive borrowings predominantly from China, Saudi Arabia and Japan precipitously diminished the dollar value in the international market.

GDP plunges because of trade imbalances and culmination of all of the above factors in the domestic front of the frail economy.

Financial Commitments – Funding two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan exhausted the national treasury and reserves besides overshadowing the onset of economic recession at home.

Wasteful Spending – Some legislators’ penchant for pet projects aka pork barrel spending or earmarks to oblige excessive lobbying from campaign donors led to misappropriation of budget replacing funding for essential services benefiting children, disabled and mentally ill patients, senior citizens, veterans, youth population, retirees and all those at the bottom of the socio economic strata.

Ironically, budget is vigorously debated over matters that are counter-productive while ignoring the myopic view of issues…

Universal health care

Energy efficient programs

Overhauling of educational system particularly public schools, state and community colleges through adequate funding.

Effective environmental policies.

Investments in science and technology to advance research and development in the areas of stem cells, regenerative medicine and Genomics.

Creative Arts and learning with a broad perspective of cultural exchanges between nations.

Space exploration in search of knowledge and facts for humanitarian cause.

Channeling appropriation of funds towards Peace Corps to promote peace and diplomacy for national security as opposed to defense spending and proliferation of nuclear technology.

Veteran Affairs involving care and rehabilitation of combat forces during and post war period as well as extending housing, education and health care for their dependents.

Expansion of Sports and recreational activities for public schools and communities through federal funding to States as a measure to keep health care costs down.

An elaborate version will be presented on what federal and state governments can do for the citizens who are taxpayers, consumers and most importantly electorate in a democracy.


Time for Action – Effective Strategies

Since the cause of the economic crises have been identified, it is time to address the problems with effective solutions i.e. strategies.

The nation desperately needs relief from the burgeoning crises:

Housing market crisis – Immediate measures required with a moratorium on foreclosures for two years supplemented with refinancing for default and delinquent mortgagees at the existing market rate or lower to adjust the deficiency in home value.

Liquidity Crisis or Credit Crunch – It is incumbent on the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke along with Congress and the Congressional Oversight Committee to hold Wall Street accountable for the $700 billion taxpayers’ funds and demand they facilitate liquidity and honor the commitment to the taxpayers.

Failure to comply with the requirement should have implications such as sale of all those beneficiaries’ assets and financial instruments withheld as collateral during borrowing assuming the previous administration adhered to the regular lending practices particularly a bailout of this magnitude.

Corporations and legislators alike must be held accountable for their actions and inactions to demonstrate that no one is held above the law in the land of republic.

Consumer Spending President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package for $819 billion passed by Congress and now the proposed package worth $867 billion for Senate approval deserves attention and action.

As discussed above, consumer spending is vital and instrumental to stimulate economy.

Again, consumers as victims of mass layoffs, debilitating job market, volatile stock market, and declining housing market have nothing to rely upon for income normally used in purchase of goods and services.

The cash strapped economy has evolved into a stagnant quagmire with disastrous consequences. It is imperative to relieve the economy with necessary tools that are contained in President Obama’s stimulus package.

President Barack Obama has unveiled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to revive the economy by easing the burden on consumers with debts, failing small businesses as well as Corporations in requirement of capital investment.

President Barack Obama during his weekly radio address acknowledged the urgency to get credit flowing again to families and businesses. The President further promised to help lower mortgage costs and extend loans to small businesses so they can create jobs.

The administration, the president said, would ensure that chief executives “are not draining funds that should be advancing our recovery,” and the assistance to the financial system would be accompanied by “unprecedented transparency, rigorous oversight and clear accountability, so taxpayers know how their money is being spent and whether it is achieving results.”

The President was empathetic towards homeowners, students and small businesses in need of loans but left to fend on their own while Banks have been extended a hand with a bailout.

There is obviously a stark contrast in the objectives between the stimulus package of last year and the current one by President Barack Obama.

According to an article by New York Times on this issue – “The previous administration’s The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was supposed to be used up to buy the banks’ troubled mortgage-related assets. But, the Bush administration’s Treasury Department shifted gears, using the program instead to shore up the banks by injecting them with capital.

But instead of being inspired to lend more, too many banks hoarded their new capital, critics of the financial industry say.”

President Obama is seriously committed towards alleviating the suffering of ordinary citizens with necessary tax breaks of $500 for individuals and $1000 per family and tax incentives to small businesses including corporations with limited resources.

The Obama administration’s economic stimulus package has specific targets to bolster the economy and welcome sharing of public concerns on issues related to jobs, business, mortgage situation…

Since the commencement of his Presidency, the President has pledged support for the victims of the worst economic crisis. It is apparent from the actions taken within short period of the President assuming office.

The new millennium has brought series of disasters on our nation with the economy hitting rock bottom. There are undeniable challenges ahead and it requires the entire nation to come together in resolving every crisis.

Even though, a new President was elected on the message of hope and change , it is the responsibility of every citizen and particularly the legislators as representatives of their constituents to act immediately in the approval of the proposed stimulus package.

Any procrastination will only lead to further deterioration of the worsening economy. It is not the time for partisan politics as the stakes are high with too many unfortunate events unfolding as time goes by.

The victims are none other than the electorate entrusting power to their legislators for action on normalization of job, stock and housing market.


Summary of Economic Recovery Plan

President Barack Obama’s stimulus package is essential to revive consumer spending, housing market, job market and corporate growth directly influencing stock market performance.

It is important to ensure that pork barrel spending does not find its way in this stimulus package during deliberation by reluctant policymakers.

Economic recovery is inevitable with discipline, determination and drive –

To eliminate or minimize costs proven liabilities.

Strategic planning and monitoring through rigorous oversight.

Implementation of effective policies with guaranteed results.

Targeting problems with efficient programs.

Restoration and preservation of jobs through investments benefiting the workforce.

Reviewing tax structures to create incentives for business sectors dealing with liquidity crisis.

At the same time closing any gaps or loopholes for tax evasions by corporations and legislators.

Relieving homeowners with appropriate measures as suggested above.

Reform of institutions lacking in ethics and moral conduct.

Enforcement of law and order with consequences for non-compliance regardless of hierarchy.

Conscientious effort to reduce deficit by restraining overseas borrowing and commitment towards domestic economic growth within a specified timeframe.

Pursuit of common goals and objectives via collective action is important reflecting every individual’s desire to succeed in all endeavors.

Our nation provided opportunities, prosperity and happiness during economic boom and now it is the moment for all citizens to collaborate and help our newly elected President Barack Obama execute the tasks required for speedy economic recovery.

The fate of our nation is hanging in balance from the monumental crises and legislators in the Senate have an awesome responsibility to move forward and approve the economic stimulus package proposed by President Barack Obama to avert more calamities.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


October 16, 2008

By Padmini Arhant

The twenty first century paved way to a new era in trade and commerce.

In the economic sector, the twentieth century policies such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and MFN… implemented to benefit the trading nations.

The economic model carried out on trial and error basis with deficiencies within yielded the net outcome.

The long-term strategy was to promote mutual economic growth and development.

There are different views and opinions on these trade policies.


Source: – Thank you.

The Pros and Cons of NAFTA

By Katrina C. Arabe -Thank you.

Here are both sides of this raging debate:

Supporters say:

? The accord has stimulated democratic reform and opened markets in Mexico.

? According to the Bush administration, the agreement has been “improving lives and reducing poverty in Mexico.”

? The administration also claims that NAFTA has led to income gains and tax cuts amounting to about $930 each year for the average U.S. household of four.

? Many of the 20 million new jobs the U.S. generated from 1993 to 2000 can be attributed to the free-trade bloc that NAFTA created, the administration continues.

And negatives such as the escalating U.S. trade deficit and three years of dwindling factory jobs should be pinned on feeble demand abroad and the U.S. recession, certainly not on NAFTA, the administration contends.

? NAFTA brought in a flood of foreign investment and contributed to a 24% rise in Mexico’s per capita income. “NAFTA gave us a big push,” Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, tells Business Week. “It gave us jobs. It gave us knowledge, experience, technological transfer.”

Detractors contend:

? The agreement has taken a toll on both U.S. and Mexican jobs, according to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). While real wages for Mexican manufacturing workers declined 13.5%, more than half a million U.S. employees have entered government retraining programs after their companies moved production south or north of the border, says IPS.

? NAFTA has wiped out Canadian social programs, purports IPS.

? The pact has also destroyed Mexico’s small farmers, says IPS, bringing in an influx of subsidized U.S. food imports. In fact, about 1.3 million farm jobs have been lost since 1993, indicates a recent report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “NAFTA has been a disaster for us,” remarks pig farmer Julian Aguilera to Business Week.

? The Carnegie report also concluded that the pact has generated few new jobs in Mexico and might only be credited for a “very small net gain” in jobs in the U.S.

? The new study also found that NAFTA has been ineffective in stemming the tide of illegal Mexican immigrants entering the U.S. to find jobs. In fact, according to most estimates, the number of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S. surged to 4.8 million in 2000, more than twice the 1990 total.

What’s the Verdict?

So is NAFTA a success or a failure? While its backers and bashers continue to take impassioned positions, many choose the middle ground. In a recent Business Week article, Jeffrey Garten writes,

“When it came to job generation vs. destruction in the U.S., NAFTA’s impact has been pretty much a wash.” And the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace comes to the same conclusion, calling the pact “neither the disaster its opponents predicted nor the savior hailed by supporters.”


The Pros and Cons of CAFTA –

Thank you.

By Cantor, Martin – Thank you.

Publication: Long Island Business News

Now that the Central American Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic is law, the question that lingers is whether it benefits Long Islanders.

For certain, CAFTA benefited President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans, who are trying make the GOP the place for the growing and politically influential Hispanic community. This strategy has helped Bush with the regional Hispanic population, who believe that great economic and job growth will result from CAFTA.

There is no doubt that eliminating tariffs and removing trade barriers makes commerce efficient, less costly and more profitable while also bringing hope that the profits would result in better working conditions and higher worker wages. CAFTA will succeed for global businesses, many of which call Long Island home.

But it may not live up to the hype of creating jobs and safer workplaces.

For Hispanics, who are Long Island’s fastest growing minority group, the hope was that the savings generated from eliminating trade barriers would be reinvested in plant and equipment in their countries of birth. The belief was that this reinvestment would expand manufacturing capacity and create a demand for jobs, thus improving living standards for the families and friends left behind.

Supporters of CAFTA say jobs and higher wages would reduce the flow of the undocumented workers because there would be little reason to come to this region in search of better salaries. Additionally, since many of these individuals work on Long Island to send money back home, some of the wages earned on Long Island could now remain here and help the local economy.

However, the reality is that there’s skilled labor at lower costs in the Far East. All of those locations present stiff competition.

With Long Island’s growing Hispanic community becoming an important regional economic segment that desires goods from Central America, one benefit may be that regional Hispanic entrepreneurs can use free trade to import lower cost goods for this expanding consumer market.

This may be the lasting legacy of CAFTA. That the United States, Canada, Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic have united in a trading bloc offering Long Island and its Hispanic entrepreneurs an opportunity for new economic growth.

Source: – Vladimir N. Pregelj, Economics Division. –

CRS – Issue Brief – Thank you.

Most-Favored-Nation Status of the People’s Republic of China.

On May 31, 1996, President Clinton issued his determination to extend China’s waiver and most-favored-nation (MFN) status for another year; and, on June 21, 1996, he issued a determination renewing the trade agreement with China for another 3-year term (through January 31, 1998).

On June 27, 1996, the House failed to pass H.J.Res. 182, which would have disapproved the extension of China’s waiver and MFN status, thus allowing both to remain in force through July 2, 1997. The House did, however, adopt a resolution (H.Res. 461) calling on various committees to hold hearings and report out appropriate legislation to deal with China on a variety of issues, including trade, weapons proliferation, human rights, and military policy.

Effects of Withdrawing China’s MFN Status —

Termination of China’s MFN status would result in duty increases on about 95% of U.S. imports from China. The cost effect of the increases would vary among the various product groups, but would on the whole be substantial.


Source: – Thank you.

Pro and Cons of Outsourcing

Outsourcing has many advantages but at the same time it has some disadvantages that cannot be ignored. So let us look at some outsourcing pros and cons.

Pros of Outsourcing

Outsourcing as a trend has come into major scrutiny by the workers and media alike in the developed countries.

But most economists are sure that this condition is just a temporary one and will die down as conditions develop and people start taking a mature outlook towards outsourcing.

The Outsourcing advantage lies in the fact that it helps companies cut costs and stay ahead in the competition.

Outsourcing also benefits the citizens in developed counties as it provides high quality products at a cheaper rate also with better customer service.

Advantages of Outsourcing

• Companies can save up on operational costs. In fact most companies can cut their operating costs to half by outsourcing

• Get access to cheaper and more efficient labor

• Cut up on labor training cost

• Get access to better technologies at a cheaper cost

• Increase productivity

• Concentrate on core competencies

Companies today want to make use of the outsourcing advantage in order to progress and stay abreast of the competition.

This is the reason why more and more companies irrespective of certain failures are entering the race of outsourcing.

Cons of Outsourcing

Outsourcing is seen by companies in developed countries and workers in developing countries as a boon. But is the situation really that green? Let us look at some disadvantage of outsourcing.

Disadvantages of Outsourcing

• The company that outsourcers can get into serious trouble if the service provider refuses to provide business due to bankruptcy, lack of funds, labor etc

• Outsourcing requires the control of the process being outsourced by transferred to the service provider. Thus the company may loose control over its process

• The service provider in developing countries generally services many companies. So there are many chances of partiality owing to more payment by other parties

• The current employees in the company that outsourcers may feel threat due to outsourcing and may not work properly

• The attitude of people in the developed countries against companies that outsource is generally bad

These disadvantages are the reasons why companies should think twice before outsourcing.
Companies should adopt a planned approach towards outsourcing taking into account the interests of employees and customers alike and come up with a balanced advance.

Outsourcing services simply to beat competition or to follow your competitors can lead to problems in the future.



Samuel Adams – Thank you.

Journal of Policy Modeling, 2008, vol. 30, issue 5, pages 725-735

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of globalization on income inequality for a cross-section of 62 developing countries over a period of 17 years (1985-2001).

The results of the study indicate that globalization explains only 15% of the variance in income inequality.

More specifically, the results show that (1) strengthening intellectual property rights and openness are positively correlated with income inequality; (2) foreign direct investment is negative and significantly correlated with income inequality but this is not robust to different model specifications; (3) the institutional infrastructure is negatively correlated with income inequality.

The study’s findings and the review of the literature suggest that globalization has both costs and benefits and that the opportunity for economic gains can be best realized within an environment that supports and promotes sound and credible government institutions, education and technological development.

Review and Analysis: By Padmini Arhant

The current unemployment rate in the United States is 6.1 percent.

All of the above factors combined with the serious financial crises contribute to the decline in the job market.

The current Stock Market volatility is a reaction to the multifaceted problems surrounding the economic infrastructure.

With the interventional policies by the governments and the monetary authorities worldwide, the U.S. and global markets should stabilize slowly but steadily.

Meanwhile, the equity and liquidity markets with cash and lending instruments should facilitate the required rebound in the market.

It was determined that the credit markets’ resistance is from the weak sales projection by the Retail industry, which is related to reduced consumer spending resulting from high unemployment rate.

It is imperative for the business groups to focus on the employment situation now, hurting their operation and survival in the global economy. The depletion of capital resources and credit crunch is one of the factors for the massive layoffs at present.

Restoration of American jobs is paramount to the revival of the U.S economy.

The stabilizing of the U.S. economy will boost market confidence and the performance level.

This would also contribute to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar much required to offset Trade deficits.

The Corporations and the governments must coordinate their efforts to review,

1. Policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, MFN, Outsourcing … with fundamental flaws and reestablish a renewed structure to benefit the American workforce and the international competitive labor.

2. Renegotiate treaties and agreements with WTO members and other agencies…ILO at home and overseas to redesign models with fair trade policies, employment practices and environment laws.

3. Prioritize and protect American jobs and labor laws over shareholders interests and corporate profits. By doing so, the increased productivity would yield the desired stock value for the Corporations.

4. International labor force is equally important in the equation. Appropriate measures … required to curb the exploitation of cheap labor in poorer and under developed nations by the multinational corporations.

5. The developing nations currently benefiting from U.S corporate investments through outsourcing should reciprocate with return investments on U.S. goods and services. The general options are to purchase high-end products and engage U.S. companies for infrastructure projects.

The concern for the loss of American jobs is legitimate. Any frustration and anxiety by the American work force is also normal.

Since, U.S. economy is the foundation of the global economy; idle American work force is counter-productive for Corporations shipping jobs overseas in pursuit of market share of the emerging economies.

The sluggish U.S. economy will not serve well for the global economies dependent on U.S. trade.

On another serious note, the print press and media have an ethical and moral responsibility to portray the global economic environment and the activities in a fair and responsible manner.

Any rhetoric diminishing the economic progress/status and professional talent of other nations such as the one recently cited by the researcher specializing in globalization in San Jose Mercury News article, will hinder the new world order effort — aimed at providing prosperity for all.

Ironically, both the news organization and the consultants fail to identify the real beneficiary i.e. the Corporations in the outsourcing deals and other trade policies.

It would be more appropriate for these individuals to be part of the solutions rather than a problem.

Inevitably, U.S. prosperity is vital for global progress.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Stock Market Stability

October 15, 2008

The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke laid out the plans and policies currently adopted as interventional measures to stabilize the stock market.

The comprehensive proposals have the necessary means and strategies to protect the taxpayers’ interests as well as restore investor confidence.

It is important to recognize that the current overhauling of the financial infrastructure that was long overdue, is taking place in complete coordination with monetary authorities and political leadership worldwide.

Although, the necessary steps may not bring immediate recovery to the current crisis, the entire financial system has to collaborate and function both psychologically and physiologically to revive the economy and mobilize the equity and liquidity markets.

It is a consolidated effort and requires all parties concerned to come forward not only in their self-interest but also to ensure long term market security that would promote the economic growth and development.

The Retail industries are projecting sluggish sales around this time of the year due to anticipated reduced consumer spending triggered by high unemployment rate.

This in part is contributing to the lack of enthusiasm from the investors in their active participation in the market.

Again, the domino effect permeates due to resistance from the financial sectors withholding cash and confidence that could otherwise energize the market.

Please stand by for an elaborated version of these circumstances like unemployment and reduced consumer spending with the presentation of expert opinions and solutions to the current crises.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant