“It is very important to the United States that we have a strong dollar.”
So said the United States Secretary of the Treasury.
Yes, Paul O’Neill said that.
Oh, yes, John Snow said that.
And, Hank Paulson.
Oh, you say, that the quote is attributed to Tim Geithner, who made the statement yesterday at a news conference of Asia-Pacific finance ministers.
As my good friends would say, “you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk!” Or, in the case of those looking on, “watch the hips, not the lips!”
The only public person alive today that, in my mind, has any credibility on this issue is Paul Volcker. And, it is Paul Volcker that has written, “A nation’s exchange rate is the single most important price in its economy; it will influence the entire range of individual prices, imports and exports, and even the level of economic activity. So it is hard for any government to ignore large swings in its exchange rate…” (This quote is found on page 232 in the book “Changing Fortunes: The World’s Money and the Threat to American Leadership” by Paul Volcker and Toyoo Gyohten, Times Books, 1992.)
The United States government has no credibility left when it comes to the value of the United States dollar.
During the administration of Bush 43, the value of the United States dollar fell by 37% against an index of major currencies from February 2002 to March 2008 while the dollar fell in value by 45% against the Euro from February 2002 to July 2008.
The United States dollar did rebound at the time of the financial crisis: up 19% against the index of major currencies and up 23% against the Euro.
However, since February of this year the United States dollar fell back by about 13% against the index of major currencies and by about 15% against the Euro.
In watching the hips, not the lips, we see, for the United States government, potential cumulative fiscal deficits of $15 to $20 trillion over the next 10 years. We have a banking system with almost $1.1 trillion in excess reserves during the two week period ending November 4, 2009. We are faced with an unknown “exit strategy” to remove these excess reserves on the part of the Federal Reserve System.
And all this with several other “shocks” on the horizon. Obama “owns” Afghanistan now and it is totally unknown what his “new strategy” for that country will mean in terms of more government spending. Then there is the health care initiative. Obama has said that the program should not add “one dime” to the deficit, yet all indications are that whatever is passed will add to the deficit, although we don’t know what that amount will be. Then there is the climate change bill along with some other proposals that are setting in the wings.
Oh, yes, people within the administration have suggested that the rest of the TARP money, whatever that amounts to, can be applied to reducing the deficit. Whoopee!
I hear the Obama administration talking the talk. I don’t see them walking the walk.
And what about Bernanke. He is staying particularly silent these days. Oh, yes, we learned from the New York Times earlier this week that he is letting Barney Frank do all his talking for him.
The strong dollar is, at present, a myth!
It will continue to remain weak and its value will continue to trend downward for the foreseeable future.
How far am I looking forward?
I will continue to believe that the dollar will remain weak until someone emerges that has some credibility. Right now, I don’t know where that person is going to come from.