On the computer topic, Kay, security is only one of the problems. The news this morning featured a system wide shut down on United Airlines. So far no one has mentioned malicious tampering but for some, as yet unknown, reason the system failed. Result: very few went anywhere for hours. That is the problem with high tech systems we have come to depend on--we have no lower tech back-ups for when they fail. And it isn't a question of if these systems will fail; it is a question of when.
There are few politicians of any party with whom I would often agree. However, Richard Durbin of Illinois has a proposal I think is absolutely right on the money. We have seen a wave of 'privatizations' over the last few years as cities and states (and national governments) struggle with massive deficits. Take a look at the public assets the Greek government is being pressured to sell--water systems, power systems, telecommunications, and even one or more of the islands. Durbin proposes that any sale of of such assets that have been built or maintained with Federal funds must include a payback of those Federal monies. I totally agree. I see no reason why private firms and their stockholders should get assets built with public money to run at a profit to them and to the detriment of the public that paid for those assets. Since the Chicago parking meters were sold less than two years ago the parking costs have increased 400%.
I have been reading and watching the turmoil in Greece all week (and long before). The New York Times had this (by way of Chris Martensen's Blog) that is an interesting account and connects the troubles in Greece to problems in the rest of Europe. And, I think, gives some indication of the root of the problem (beyond the fiscal madness that has infected governments, individuals, and institutions). I don't know how many times my blood pressure has spiked when some politician, economist, or banker talked about either 'moral hazard' or 'shared sacrifice.' I haven't seen much sharing of the sacrifice by those at the top of the economic food chain--they are sharing out what the rest of us have 'sacrificed.' As for 'moral hazard,' where were the consequences for the insane decisions the bankers, mortgage bankers, and others at the top made? I haven't see any. Even now, as the Greeks protest, the major question is how much of a 'haircut' investors in bank bonds should take on bad investments. I thought one poster a Greek protestor had was right on the money. It showed the just ousted finance minister (I think they said) and proclaimed him the 'employee of the year' for Goldman Sachs. Goldman advisors were instrumental in advising the Greek government on how they could hide some debt so they could appear to be in compliance with EU financial rules.