Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
is raising unemployment benefits in Obama's plans?
No.  But it should be a part of a second stimulus plan.
does America really need even lower savings rates?
For that part of the savings that comes from the income of the top few percent this question is only relevant for that part of their savings that is spent in ways that benefits the domestic economy.  Investing in projects in foreign countries, converting the savings into foreign currencies and putting it into off-shore banks or buying shares and bonds of foreign countries does little for the domestic economy.  Putting those savings into domestic financial services industries and products has contributed mightily to the current problem.

As important as, if not more important than, the amount of savings is the disposition of those savings.  We could invest in an upgraded, electrified rail transit system for passengers and freight or we could spend an equivalent amount laying out double tracks in the desert, illuminated at night, spelling out "Time For Lunch" in letters only legible from space.  The two endeavors would have vastly different long term effects, even if the invitation is never accepted.  Building yachts and mansions is little better than building the second of the two rail projects.

For thirty eight years we have had rhetoric and policy that combined to place economic decision making in the hands of a tiny, wealthy elite.  By the fruits of their labor shall we know them.  The current situation is much like that described in German dragon myths.  The dragon has a horde of gold and jewels for which it has no use but it is fiercely guarding this treasure.  Wealth has been so concentrated and so disastrously deployed that the only way forward is to seize as much of the wealth as possible and return it to productive uses.

Given the level of sophistication of the general population, at least in the US, realistic proposals for  solutions to our problems along with the steps necessary to implement those problems cannot be discussed in public, given that one of the antagonists in the election is a feudatory of the dragons and the other is beholden to them.  More than just economic and tax policy must change.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 23rd, 2008 at 11:30:59 AM EST
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