Categorized | happenings, the roundup

The Biz Roundup January 1

Let’s start the new year out right. With a bailout.

“What we are asking,” said Daniel R. DiMicco, chairman and chief executive of the Nucor Corporation, a giant steel maker, “is that our government deal with the worst economic slowdown in our lifetime through a recovery program that has in every provision a ‘buy America’ clause.”

(“Steel Industry, in Slump, Looks to Federal Stimulus,” New York Times, January 2) This is actually a bailout program even the most beer-addled free marketer like myself could get behind: if the federal government starts throwing around bailout money that it borrows from China, then that money should be spent only in America, with American companies hiring American labor, rather than being sent back to China. Makes sense. And the Chinese don’t lose; at least they can enjoy the 0% interest that treasuries are currently paying out.

Sometimes the way we report the news is news itself.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer introduces a layoff tracker to its business Web site. Nothing says goodbye to the American employment dream better. Each number is a tragedy. And the folks who wrought those tragedies are all getting “bail out” bonuses this year.

Does that mean they won’t open five more Cirque du Soleil shows this year?

Like many U.S. cities, Las Vegas is watching its economy reel. Home values have plummeted. Foreclosures have exploded. Unemployment is the highest it’s been in at least 20 years. For the first time in decades, the population has stopped growing. Casino projects are on hold. Planes full of free-spending tourists are landing with less frequency. Long the embodiment of American confidence, the city is now in limbo.

(“Slump means identity crisis for Las Vegas,” AP/Dallas Morning News, January 1) So we hand Rick Waggoner 8 billion dollars to prop up GM. He hops a corporate jet to the Mandalay, puts it all down on the blackjack table, and saves Detroit OR saves Las Vegas. Isn’t that a better bet with taxpayer money?

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