CBCradio

September 16, 2008

Pt 1: Corporate Bailouts - The faith of anyone with even the faintest connection to Wall Street was severely tested yesterday as New York's Dow Jones average plunged more than 500 points. Lehman Brothers Holdings -- one of the street's biggest and most legendary investment bank's -- filed for bankruptcy protection, an act that would have been unthinkable even a year ago.

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Pt 2: Internet Campaign - Between the daily e-mail missives, the social-networking operations and the endless on-line fundraising, American politics have been transformed by the internet.

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Pt 3: The Powerless - Documentary - It takes courage to tilt at a windmill. And perseverance to keep doing it again and again. This morning, we have a story about a contemporary Don Quixote ... a man who has been tilting at windmills for years. The difference is that sometimes he connects. His name is Clive Stafford Smith. He's a lawyer and human rights activist who takes on cases that pit him against some of the most powerful forces in the world.

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It's Tuesday, September 16th.

Stephen Harper says the Canadian economy is sound enough to survive declining stock exchanges, Wall Street bankcruptcies, diminishing surpluses and a slide in the price of oil.

Currently, He'd also like you to vote for him as soon as humanly possible ... just to make sure we keep the good times rolling.


Corporate Bailouts


The faith of anyone with even the faintest connection to Wall Street was severely tested yesterday as New York's Dow Jones average plunged more than 500 points. Lehman Brothers Holdings -- one of the street's biggest and most legendary investment bank's -- filed for bankruptcy protection, an act that would have been unthinkable even a year ago. It came a day after Merril Lynch -- the company whose bull logo once personified Wall Street -- held an emergency firesale and ended up being bought out by Bank of America.

That's 252 years worth of storied financial history wiped off the map in less than a day. Analysts called it the biggest upheaval in the financial industry since the Great Depression. Investors just called it depressing.

But what happened yesterday is remarkable for one more reason. Where mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were given government bail-outs just last week, Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail despite the obvious consequences of letting that happen.

Letting a Giant Fall - Pros and Cons

And that's where Joseph Stiglitz sees a silver lining. He's a Nobel-Prize-winning economist and a professor at the Columbia Business School and he was in New York City.

But even if there are important lessons to be learned in letting big companies fail, it can still cause an awful lot of damage. And that makes it awfully hard for policy makers to resist a bail-out. William Galston knows that well. He was a domestic policy advisor to President Bill Clinton. He's now a Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies Department at the Brookings Institution and he joined us from Washington.

Bail-outs in Canada

Now thankfully there hasn't been much call for similar bail-outs here in Canada. But that doesn't mean we're immune to the mess on Wall Street. So The Current asked Benny Tal to break-down what it all means for Canadian investors. He's a Senior Economist with CIBC's World Markets.

 

Internet Campaign

Between the daily e-mail missives, the social-networking operations and the endless on-line fundraising, American politics have been transformed by the internet. In Canada, our campaigns have changed too. But by comparison, some say, we look like democratic luddites. And it's not just that we're a smaller country. If you knock a zero off the Youtube and Facebook statistics to account for our population, we still languish behind our American neighbours to the point where some people say we're stuck back at politics 1.0.

Jesse Brown has been looking into the state of Canadian politics online. He's the host of CBC's internet affairs podcast Search Engine and he joined Anna Maria in studio.

MUSIC:

Les Paul 11
Artist: Les Paul
Cut: CD11 Caravan
CD: American Made World Played
Label: EMI
Spine #: 09463 34065 2 0


The Powerless - Documentary


It takes courage to tilt at a windmill. And perseverance to keep doing it again and again. This morning, we have a story about a contemporary Don Quixote ... a man who has been tilting at windmills for years. The difference is that sometimes he connects. His name is Clive Stafford Smith. He's a lawyer and human rights activist who takes on cases that pit him against some of the most powerful forces in the world.



Last Word

We left you this morning with one more thought on corporate meltdowns, buy-outs and bail-outs. Back in 1980, folk-singer Tom Paxton came up with an ingenious idea for dealing with an economic downturn, one that singer Arlo Guthrie popularized back in the days when Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca was pioneering the idea of government loan guarantees. We'll leave you with what they came up with.

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