- Ours is the Greatest Story Ever Written
- United States To Face Attacks on Quantitative Easing Policy at G20 Summit as Currency War Rages On
- It's Time to Keep America From Becoming Just Another Banana Republic
- China Deepens Ties with Iran and Venezuela In Spite of U.S. Consternation
- Healthcare Reform May Not Cut Spending or the Federal Deficit
- Investors Can't Ignore a Rebounding Japan
- When Stimulus Spending Winds Down, Will U.S. Businesses Step in For Tapped-Out Consumers?
- Trade Gap Unexpectedly Widens on Surge of Oil and Auto Parts Imports
- U.S. and China Seek Middle Ground on Currency Dispute Ahead of Obama Visit
- Is the Government Rehabilitating the Economy or Delaying the Inevitable?
- China Fuming Over the Latest U.S. Trade Complaint
I would even take it a step further by saying the United States is the greatest country there is, ever was, and ever will be...
But then again, I'm a bit of a homer.
Maybe it was all those World War II movies I watched with my great uncle when I was kid. He was an old sailor who was big on Admiral "Bull" Halsey, and by extension, so was I.
Or maybe it's because I'm much older now, and I realize just how dark the world would be without her. That much I am sure of.
But what I love most about my country is that it was founded on the idea that all men are created equal and are born with unalienable rights - among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Of course, Thomas Jefferson put those words much better than I ever could some 236 years ago when he penned the Declaration of Independence.
What you may not know is that Jefferson was just 33 years old when he sat down to the task of writing one of the most important documents of all time.
Chosen by John Adams for his "happy talent for composition and singular felicity of expression," it took Jefferson 17 days to complete under the apparent constant harassment of horseflies from a nearby barn. Being mid-June in Philadelphia, it was also undoubtedly quite warm.
I often wonder what that must have been like, using only an ink well, pen, and candlelight at night. Did Jefferson know his elegant phrasing and high tone would go on to forever change the world?
What was it like, that moment when he scratched out the word subjects and replaced it with the word citizens?
Was it a slip from a lifetime of habit... or Jefferson's first recognition that the people of his cause were no longer subjects of any nation- but citizens of an emerging democracy?
China, Brazil, Germany and South Africa all have spoken out against the U.S. Federal Reserve's announcement last week that it will buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasuries through June. Finance policymakers from around the globe say the move will depress the dollar and drive capital flows to emerging markets, creating asset bubbles.
Brazil's central bank president Henrique Meirelles said the extra liquidity in the U.S. economy would cause "risks for everyone," and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called the Fed's move "clueless."
The gross irony is that the same capitalist system that molded America into the strongest, most productive and richest nation in history, has been transformed into a mostly private moneymaking enterprise whose beneficiaries are those who actually produce nothing but paper profits.
The story of America's transformation from great experiment to another banana republic is one in which economic crises were manipulated to create a political front for an elite banking class.
It's a story that's worth examining...
Chinaoil- the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp's (CNPC) trading unit- shipped two cargoes totaling 600,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran in exchange for $55 million, according to Reuters. The cargoes were Chinaoil's first direct sales to Iran since at least January 2009, according to Reuters data.
Additionally, Unipec- the trading arm of the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) (NYSE ADR: SNP)- agreed to sell 250,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran.
The sales couldn't come at a worse time for the United States. Washington has spent months lobbying the international community to tighten sanctions on Iran, which is openly expanding its uranium enrichment capacity.
But as the political battle wears on this week, experts say the debate should turn its focus to one critical question: Will the legislation will put a damper on soaring healthcare costs or simply pile millions of people onto a system that already is threatening to drive the United States into bankruptcy?
Despite contentions by the White House that the bill is a necessary first step in efforts to reform an out-of-control medical system, most analysts are deeply divided over the long term implications of both the Senate and House bills for medical spending and federal deficits.
Politically, U.S.-Japanese relations have improved dramatically during that two-decade stretch.
Yet investor regard for Japan has gone the opposite way. Twenty years ago - in the midst of the Japanese stock-and-real-estate bubble - U.S. and other world investors were kowtowing to Japanese investments - and banging their heads on the floor in the process.
It's no secret that government spending has been fueling much of the growth in the $14.2 trillion U.S. economy. And if consumers aren't ready for the handoff when that stimulus spending winds down - and they certainly don't appear to be - it will be up to the U.S. business sector to carry the ball.
And it's not at all clear that Corporate America is ready, willing or able to fulfill that role.
The gap grew to $36.5 billion, the highest level since January, from a revised $30.8 billion in August, the Commerce Department said today (Friday). Imports jumped the most in 16 years, overcoming a gain in exports.
U.S. exports and imports were at the highest levels since December 2008, in a sign that the U.S. economy is recovering. Imports grew 5.8% in September, the biggest monthly gain since March 1993, while exports rose 2.9%.
However, analysts remain uncertain as to whether or not China and the United States are serious about making policy adjustments, or are simply trying to ensure that Obama's first trip to the nation as president goes smoothly.
In a rare tweaking of policy language, the People's Bank of China (BOC) signaled on Wednesday that it might take other major currencies - not just dollar - into account when guiding its exchange rate.
While all the talk at present is about economic corners turned and markets charging ahead, no one is paying much notice to an American economy that's deteriorating right before our eyes.
These myopic commentators seem to be simply moving past the now almost-universally held conclusion that, before the crash of 2008, our economy was on an unsustainable course. If these imbalances had been corrected, then perhaps I, too, would be joining in the euphoria. But evidence abounds that we have not veered at all from that dangerous path.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported that consumer spending as a percentage of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has risen to 71%, a post-World War II record. This level is notably higher than other wealthy industrialized countries, and vastly higher than the levels sustained by China and other emerging economies. At the same time, our industrial output is contracting, our trade deficit is expanding once again (after contracting earlier in the year), and our savings rate is plummeting (after an early year surge).
The United States, Europe, and Mexico have asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to arrange a dispute settlement panel to investigate Chinese restrictions on exports of certain industrial metals. The WTO complaint claims that Chinese restrictions on exports such as bauxite and magnesium are driving up the prices of steel, aluminum, and chemical products.
"China's restrictions on raw materials continue to distort competition and increase global prices, making conditions for our companies even more difficult in this economic climate," said Catherine Ashton, the European Union's (EU) trade commissioner.