dollars in back pocketAs 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 Car 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.”

tiresOn 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.

Wall StreetOn June 17, President Barack Obama proposed sweeping changes to federal regulation of financial markets. Bloomberg.com called it “the biggest overhaul of market rules in more than seven decades.”

Chysler workerLast 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.

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