Monday, January 14, 2002

ARGENTINA UPDATE: An editorial from The New Republic, actually, on why Paul O'Neill is vastly unsuited for his job. A sample:

This past summer Argentina--facing unemployment climbing toward 20 percent and unable to repay the money it had borrowed to back up its currency, which in 1991 the country's currency board pegged to the dollar--asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for debt relief. O'Neill was unsympathetic. "They've been off and on in trouble for 70 years or more," he told The Economist (in an interview the investment bank UBS Warburg later called "amazing, astonishing, appalling"). "Nobody forced them to be what they are." O'Neill's comments weren't merely callous; they actually made Argentina's condition worse: By suggesting that the United States would not approve an IMF loan, he helped cause interest rates on private loans to Argentina to rise even more.

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