The International Monetary Fund has roared back from irrelevancy, with a central role in the fight against the global credit contagion. Only poor debtor nations have doubts, because once again, the IMF is urging budget austerity on some borrowers, even as rich nations roll out eyepopping spending plans to fight recession.Already, Hungary and Ukraine have reluctantly tapped the fund for loans totaling $32 billion, in exchange for belt-tightening.
As the U.S. Presidential debates have shown, Barack Obama and John McCain can't agree on much. One rare exception: electronic health records. Obama has proposed spending $50 billion to help doctors and hospitals digitize their files and build patient databases.
The credit crisis has taken many barons of Wall Street (and their $10,000 suits) to the cleaners. Who, though, has suffered the biggest losses? One way to get at that question is to look at leaders of the hardest-hit companies, and how much the value of their in-house shares has fallen from recent peaks.
'American dominance has been very short-lived,' says a U.K. defense expert, and pressing issues in the Middle East, Russia and elsewhere will test the capabilities of the next president.