Is the IMF softening its tone?

Is The IMF Going Soft On Austerity?
International Monetary Fund is seeking more time for Greece to meet austerity measures, according to the Wall Street Journal. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde is advocating the extra time because she believes “it is sometimes better, given the circumstances…to have a bit more time.” Lagarde’s softening marks a change in approach to austerity and one that is unwise, writes Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph.

US Economy Still Lagging
While the decline in the unemployment rate is positive, the number of firms actually hiring or opening new positions has declined, which is another sign that the economy is struggling to gain forward movement.

So, what is the reason behind the inability to gain traction? Some analysts point to the “skills gap” as one cause. Deloitte researchers William D. Eggers and John Hagel recently argued that the US is trailing behind other nations in its ability to match workers with jobs to fit the changing workplace.

“Traditional mainstay industries are contracting, while our competitive advantage erodes under pressures from new global markets. Despite all of these warning signs, our country lacks the cross-cutting policies needed to develop the most valued American commodity of all: good jobs,” they contend.

Is America’s Decline A Matter Of Choice Or Consequence?
While not a concerted effort, the decline in America’s standing as a global leader is a consequence of choices – from fiscal policy to failure to address the debt, according to World Affairs magazine.

The magazine contends that the “decline is not destined by some ineluctable cycle of history. Instead, America’s future is a matter of will and willpower, in the sense of crucial choices to be made about policy and strategy. Willpower in particular involves leadership and well-informed decisionmaking. If the right choices are made in the years ahead, the robustness of American society coupled with its unique capacities for adaptation and adjustment should once again prove decisive.”



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