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社論:2010: Small steps along the recovery road(2010-01-06)

2010: Small steps along the recovery road

 

By year end, the Dow climbed back over 10,000 points, its highest close since October 2008. And, NASDAQ was up 44% in 2009. It was very encouraging to see the stock markets are doing well. It looks that the economy has finally emerged from the worst recession since the Great Depression. However, with unemployment rate in US is still hovering around 10%, any unchecked optimism is very dangerous. Yes, there will be enough momentum to climb the steep hill of recovery in 2010. The economy crisis in 2009 was only one of many challenges confronted the leaders of the world. In 2010, a great leader needs to think and act beyond all crises.

For the United States, the health care reform should be a top priority. Extending the health care insurance to approximately 30 millions Americans who are currently uninsured due to economical reasons or medical conditions should be a national priority. It is a shame that the United States medical system have been operating like Charles Dickens “Tales of Two Cities”-“ one for “have” and nothing for “have-not”.

Last December in Copenhagen, Denmark, global leaders failed to reach an agreement with substantial deal to slow down the global warming. The divide between rich and poor nations prevented any binding agreement. It was very amazing that there are still many US Senators do not see the warming on thin ice in North Poles and Antarctic. We believe that instead of just pointing fingers at China and India, the United States should assert a much stronger leadership position in this issue before it becomes too late.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are draining billions of dollars from US each year. Yet, they did not reduce terrorists’ activities against innocent people around the world. Instead, the wars provided a justification for extremists to wage wars against the United States. Engaging reformists in countries in the Middle East such as Iran are one of the solutions we should never give up; it may be very slow and sometimes very frustrating. The US should provide assistant and moral support to them. The people in Iran and Afghanistan who are struggling to rid of theocratic tyrannies should feel that the Free Word, in particular the US, is with them, not against them. 

 Another issue is how to deal with rising China in 2010. If as predicted, China will surpass Japan and becomes world’s No.2 economy in 2010. While it many take decades for China to become world’s No.1 economy, China’s sphere of influence, politically and economically, in the world has expanded greatly. In 2010 China will play a key in Iran, North Korea and the climate talk. The United States has been addicted to the easy money from China to finance its deficits. The dependence on China financially has muted Obama’s concerns over Tibet, Uigur and Taiwan’s freedom. The United States should boost its domestic saving so that there will be enough domestic capital to fund the R & D , the education and the health care etc. China has it own challenges; it is dangerous to predict China’s power linearly. Just an example, in 2010, China will arrive at the peak of its “demographic divide”, after which its dependency ratio of young and old to people in work will rise. Without a solid social security system, along with its growing pains such as pollutions and corruption, China may not be the giant the US should lean heavily on.

Over all, we will see that it will be a year of small advances for the United States; better that, though, than big retreats as we have experienced in the past distressful two years.  

 


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