Then there is the matter of your greenbacks.
WASHINGTON – Things in the U.S. sure are tough. Brother, can you spare a euro? Signs saying “We accept euros” are cropping up in the windows of some Manhattan retailers. A Belgium company is trying to gobble up St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, the nation’s largest brewer and iconic Super Bowl advertiser.
The almighty dollar is mighty no more. It has been declining steadily for six years against other major currencies, undercutting its role as the leading international banking currency. The long slide is fanning inflation at home and playing a major role in the run-up of oil and gasoline prices everywhere.
Vacationing Europeans are finding bargains in the U.S., while Americans in Paris and other world capitals are being clobbered by sky-high tabs for hotels, travel and even sidewalk cafes. Northern border-city Americans who once flocked into Canada for shopping deals are staying home; it’s the Canadians flocking here now.
Everything made in America — from goods to entire companies — is near dirt cheap to many foreigners. Meanwhile, American consumers, both those who travel and those who stay at home, are seeing big price increases in energy, food and imported goods. The dollar has lost roughly a quarter of its purchasing power against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners from its peak in 2002.
President Bush doesn’t talk about the dollar much, but when he does, he’s got exactly one thing to say about it: “We have a strong dollar policy.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that Bush’s “strong dollar policy” is driving the greenback into the ground.The dollar is hitting record lows this week amidst fears that the mortgage-market meltdown will spread to other parts of the economy and as the Chinese make noise about moving more of their investments into euros. But it is the underlying dynamics of the American economy — continued massive trade deficits and a whopping national debt — that have put the dollar in such a precarious position.
Instead, Bush just offers the strong-dollar line, without specifics, and moves on.
A true strong dollar policy, aimed at increasing the confidence of international investors, would require Bush to do a bunch of things he doesn’t want to do. For instance, he would have to stop borrowing so much money to fund his tax cuts and his wars. He would need to encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, rather than depend on it to keep propping up the domestic economy by decreasing them. That sort of thing.
Before you get all ranting about how that was from almost a year ago, consider it was written A YEAR AGO. I will wager it hasn’t gotten any better either.
WASHINGTON – Employers cut payrolls by 62,000 in June, the sixth straight month of nationwide job losses, underscoring the economy’s fragile state. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent.
The latest snapshot of business conditions, released by the Labor Department on Thursday, showed continued caution on the part of employers who are chafing under high energy prices and are uncertain about how long the economy will be stuck in a sluggish mode, reflecting fallout from housing, credit and financial troubles.
Heavy job losses in construction, manufacturing and financial services, along with cutbacks in retailing, eclipsed job gains in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government.The report, however weak, was largely on target with economists’ forecasts. They had been expecting employers to reduce payrolls by around 60,000 jobs in June and for the unemployment rate to slip a notch to 5.4 percent.
The jobless rate spiked to 5.5 percent in May. That marked the biggest over-the-month increase in two decades and left the rate at its highest since October 2004.
There is some good news though. For all the spending without foresight by the GOP’ers (and the spineless Dem’s who can’t seem to get their heads out of their asses and say ‘NO.’) there is some good news.
From NBC’s Mike Viqueira
A former House GOP leader is calling this year’s political atmosphere “the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than the fall of 2006,” citing “deep seeded (sic) antipathy toward the president.”
We are hearing a lot today from Republicans and their concern about their “brand,” and Davis takes it to another level in his memo; “a congressional GOP brand tied to George Bush is struggling”; “…deep seeded antipathy toward the president, the war, gas prices, the economy, foreclosures and, in some areas, the underlying cultural differences that continue to brand our party.”
And the kicker, “the Republican brand is in the trash can…if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf.”
It’s about goddamn time.