Tuesday, April 24, 2007


A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained.
It can afford to extend a helping hand to others.
It's a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster
and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity
--Jimmy Carter

We hold the distinction of being the only nation
that is goin' to the poorhouse in an automobile
--Will Rogers

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher recently said ''the U.S. economy has been growing handsomely.'' How does one quantify that word, handsomely.

I reckon the Chinese consider it to be one trillion plus in foreign reserves mostly held in dollars.

At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported, ''The dollar fell to a two-year low against the euro on worries that U.S. complaints over trade with China might cause the Chinese government to retaliate'' (''The Dollar Drops Sharply on Euro,'' Dan Molinski, 4/11/07, C.12.'') Since that report, the euro has broken 1.36 [from 1.3457], despite reassurances in the intervening two-weeks that it was remaining ''well-below'' that mark.

The above article also reported,

'''The U.S.-China issue seems to be the factor weighing on the dollar,' said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, noting that there were no major U.S. or European data that otherwise might have explained the dollar's move lower.''

''Currency analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman, explaining the dollar's decline against the euro, said that 'the fear is that China will retaliate to U.S. action and sell U.S. Treasurys or simply not buy more.'''

The dollar was sent even lower against the euro today by a ''slew of negative U.S. reports on housing, consumer confidence and manufacturing activity, all of which shined a spotlight on an overall weak economy'' (''Dollar Drops on Home Sales, Consumer Confidence Data,'' WSJ, 4/24/07.)

The euro reached a fresh two-year high of $1.3640, closing in its all-time high of $1.3670 back in December 2004. Influencing factors included soft manufacturing reports and ''poor existing-home sales, which took their biggest tumble in 18 years in March, falling 8.4% versus an expected slip of only 4.0%.'' But it's just a tumble, I guess. Not just headlines, but sub-reports were consistently ''dollar-negative''.

Ranger's casual take on the subject: The Chinese continue to finance the U.S. deficit lifestyle and our phony elective wars, but the Bush administration gets its pants in a wad over Chinese exports of glossy paper. It seems that glossy paper is worth alienating our sister economy, the Chinese.

The U.S. economy is a house of cards based upon Chinese goodwill and economic policy. The U.S. is so far behind the power curve that we will never be in the driver's seat again, unless the U.S. adopts sound financial policies--from the personal to the federal level.

We have no FDR or Jimmy Carter telling us that we must rein in our profligate resource consumption. Victory gardens and thermostat reduction are for chumps. Unfortunately, our national leadership is on board with the conservative fundamentalist monetary credo, which basically assures the faithful that God wants you to be flush.

Deficit lifestyles do not benefit the individual nor the country. We better get a grip before it is too late.

A good start would be to eliminate ''emergency spending'' on a non-emergency, phony war.

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