As the fallout from the global financial crisis continues, the burning question in international financial circles is whether the U. S. dollar, the world’s reserve currency since the Second World War, can retain its status. Chinese and Russian leaders have already signaled their distaste for continued dollar hegemony, and the latter have even taken the extraordinary step of publicly seeking assurances that their dollar-denominated assets — U.S. government debt — will be protected.
Ford Motor Company was supposed to be the only major U.S. automaker not in need of a bailout, but this week Ford accepted a $5.9 billion loan subsidy under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The EISA loan is designed to help the auto industry by supporting “capital investments in facilities designed to produce vehicles with greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
On June 18, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled 4-2 that China was flooding the U.S. market with low-cost tires. The United Steelworkers Union filed the complaint, saying 5,100 U.S. workers have already lost their jobs and 3,000 more are in danger of losing theirs this year. The union also said the volume of Chinese imports rose 215 percent from 2004 to 2008, reaching 46 million tires valued at $1.7 billion in 2008.
Last week’s Chrysler-Fiat alliance cements a total federal commitment of $33.48 billion in federal loans and aid to the Chrysler Corporation, its suppliers, and Chrysler Financial. The billions were committed through last year’s TARP legislation and Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill passed in February of this year.
At a United Nations climate meeting in Bonn, Germany, world leaders proposed a levy on long-haul air travel as a way to raise money to supposedly help less developed countries adapt to alleged anthropogenic (human-caused) “climate change.” If the proposal were to become reality, the United Nations would be able to supplement “contributions” from member nations with its own international tax, something world-government promoters have dreamed about for decades.
President Barack Obama’s director of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations on June 12. At the time of this writing, a video and a transcript were both available at the CFR website. The stated purpose was to present his “Reflections on Economic Policy in Time of Crisis,” but the theme seemed to be saving the free market from having too much freedom. He even credited socialist economist John Maynard Keynes with the “great insight” that the free market will supposedly fail to achieve a natural balance between supply and demand “two or three times a century, perhaps a little more.”
Many factors have enabled the United States to become the wealthiest nation on Earth: limited government, secure property rights, a free-market capitalist economic system, a relatively stable currency, and an abundance of available energy. One might note that all of these elements are increasingly under attack from politicians, but a successful assault on the access we have to the energy that powers our economy would devastate our country — even if we did everything else right.
All you need to know about the dynamics behind the Chrysler-Fiat “Alliance” being pushed by the White House — and temporarily stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 8 — is the following quote from a story on Bloomberg.com the same day: “Chrysler said the sale, which would transfer its Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands, would help save 38,500 jobs, plus those of workers at its suppliers.” Put simply, the White House is driving the bankruptcy deal in order to be able to claim it “saved jobs.”
Monday, June 1, was the end of an era for the American automotive industry. As nearly everyone not living in the jungles of Borneo knows by now, once-mighty General Motors, the flagship corporation of American automobile manufacturing and one of the most potent symbols worldwide of American industrial might, slid into Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Great Recession dealt the long-foundering giant the coup de grace. In what is being billed as the fourth-largest bankruptcy in American history and the largest ever for an industrial manufacturer, GM claims $82.29 billion in assets against almost $173 billion in debt — this, be it duly noted, after billions in federal government bailout monies have been shoveled GM’s way.
The Federal Reserve caused the current economic crisis by suppressing interest rates and creating the housing bubble, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Euro Pacific Capital president Peter Schiff, and others have charged. And now there’s finally been enough political push-back for the damage the Federal Reserve has wreaked that the Fed will be hiring a lobbyist.