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Buddy, can you spare a dollar? [US currency crisis]
The Belfast Telegraph ^ | 12/10/2004 | Rupert Cornwell

Posted on 12/10/2004 8:21:02 AM PST by UlsterDavy

American tourists arriving in Europe will find they are paying five times more for a coffee or a hotel room than they would at home. But in the US, the currency crisis is passing almost unnoticed. Rupert Cornwell reports 10 December 2004

It may not be easy in this Bush-hating era, but a little sympathy nonetheless is surely in order for American visitors to Europe. This Christmas British shoppers by the tens of thousands are flocking to New York as naturally as they once stormed Oxford Street, saving a small fortune in the process. Not so Americans who this holiday season find themselves in London, Paris or Berlin.

Once upon a time, their currency was king. Now a trip across the Atlantic is like a visit to the financial dentist, in which small fortunes are extracted from their pockets without even the benefit of an anaesthetic. The reason of course is the accelerating decline of the dollar, now about to breach the $2 to the pound barrier for the first time in a dozen years.

But their discomfort hides a paradox. This December, the American visitor to Europe finds himself paying $4 for a cup of coffee or metro fare that would cost $1 at home. His familiar $40 meal will cost $100, and the hotel room that runs at $60 in the typical Midwestern city of Edwardsville, Illinois, say, costs five times as much in London or Manchester. If only he had stayed at home.

The United States itself remains a land of eminently affordable plenty. Go into a dollar store, as I did the other day in Edwardsville, and you will be amazed at what can still be purchased for a humble $1 bill.

Thus this modern crisis is barely noticed back home. Despite the trauma of 9/11, the US remains in many respects oblivious to the world beyond its borders. Only 20 per cent of the population have passports. There is of course nothing intrinsically wrong with that. America is a continent in itself - and what distinction attaches to a British passport, when its sole function is to get the bearer to booze and sex binges in Prague or Majorca? Far more than European countries, the US is economically self-sufficient.

True, Americans grumble over rising petrol prices (all of 30p a litre right now). But most of what they consume comes from home. Foreign trade accounts for only a quarter of gross domestic product, compared with up to half in the case of France or Germany. Many big American regional papers do not bother to quote exchange rates; across swaths of the US, foreign currencies (and foreign countries) might as well not exist.

And ditto for dollar crises. In the early 1970s, the currency was devalued twice. The world might have trembled. But for the average American the upheaval had no more impact than a worthy piece in Foreign Affairs magazine.

Today, a political drama to match Labour's agony in 1976 over the IMF loan, or John Major's humiliation when Britain crashed out of the European exchange rate mechanism in 1992, is inconceivable in the US.

To history-scarred Britons of a certain age, nonetheless, today's events have a familiar ring. I would be the first to admit that the pound has had its moments: as a university student in the mid-1960s studying modern Greek, for instance, I would write to my mother from Greece asking her to send me a £5 note, from the drachma proceeds of which I could easily live for a week.

But for most of my life, at least until the late 1980s, the pound seemed in almost permanent free-fall. Before the First World War, when Britain was indisputable top nation, it bought about $5. Sterling was devalued to $4.03 when we left the gold standard in 1931. In 1949, it was devalued to $2.80, and then again in 1967 to $2.41. At one point in 1985 the pound withered to virtual parity with the dollar.

The passing of the baton of world power from the Old World to the New was mirrored in the currency markets. "If the English pound is not to be the standard which everyone knows and can trust," Winston Churchill mused in 1925, "the business not only of the British Empire but of Europe as well might have to be transacted in dollars". For Depression-battered and imperially over-stretched Britain, the Second World War was the last straw. When the US and Britain negotiated the IMF, the Bretton Woods agreement and other financial arrangements for the post-war world, our clever diplomats whiled away dull moments by composing condescending doggerel:

"In Washington Lord Halifax [the British Ambassador] once whispered to J M Keynes, 'It's true they have all the money bags, but we have all the brains.'" The reality however was that by 1945, Britain had been reduced to beggar at America's abundant table. The pound - before 1914 our proudest global brand, when a letter of credit issued by a London bank was as good as gold - was so diminished that acquiring foreign currency for an overseas trip was a bureaucratic nightmare.

The greatest financial brand on earth was now the dollar, a more potent ambassador for America than even Coca-Cola, Disney, or McDonald's. The greenback was prized the world over, as means of exchange, store of value and symbol of the freedom, wealth and promise of the US. Even physically, it never seemed to change.

Several efforts have been made to get rid of the $1 bill, but every one has failed - despite studies showing many millions of dollars would be saved by a switch to more durable dollar coins, and irrespective of the fact that in Europe and Britain, the lowest denomination bank notes are now worth almost $7 and $10 respectively.

Innovations like the $2 bill and, more recently, the copper/zinc dollar coin introduced in 2000, have flopped.

Scorn and amazement were etched on the face of the man in front of us at St Louis airport in the heartland last month when he received one of the latter in change at a vending machine selling Metrorail tickets into town. "What the hell is this?" he asked, peering at the offending object in his palm as if it were a hand grenade.

Until some mid-1990s tweaks with design to deter counterfeiters, dollar bills had looked exactly the same for some 70 years. The marked $10 bill that cracked the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case and sent Bruno Hauptmann to the electric chair in 1936 would have been as familiar in 1996. Fickle francs, perfidious pounds and lightweight lire might change their shape and colour every few years. Not so the trusty dollar bill, black and white on the front, dull green on the back, a visibly unchanging store of value cherished by a deeply conservative country.

But for how much longer? Just possibly, the dollar as global brand is now going the same way as our pound half a century earlier. The parallels should not be exaggerated, for the relative clout of the US is far greater than that of Britain, even in its imperial heyday. But the implications for America's global dominance are ominous nonetheless.

In weighty turn-of-the-millennium pieces in 1999 and 2000, commentators to a man saw US dominance, underpinned by its swelling population, its vast resources and its unparalleled military might, stretching as far as the eye could see. But throughout history great powers - be they ancient Rome, Spain, Britain or the Soviet Union - have been brought down not on the battlefield, but by economic weakness. And now perhaps, the US.

Right now the world's greatest power is the world's greatest debtor. If and when American power crumbles, the reasons will be found within. As threats to the American way of life, Osama bin Laden, Iranian ayatollahs and North Korean crackpots with their nuclear bombs are nothing compared to the stockpiles of dollar-denominated assets held by the central banks of China and Japan.

The US is like a shopper on a credit card binge, living beyond his or her means. In this case the cards are issued by the foreign central banks, mostly in Asia, who use the dollars generated by their huge bilateral trade surpluses to buy US government securities. In effect, they are lending the money to keep the binge going. But what if the lenders tire of the depreciating dollar, and switch into more rewarding currencies? The stakes are enormously high. To finance its deficits, the US needs to attract around $2bn a day of investment from abroad. The federal budget deficit exceeds $400bn annually, while the current account is in the red to the tune of $650bn (almost 6 per cent of America's $11 trillion GDP). Just last week, Congress quietly raised the national debt ceiling from $7.4 trillion to $8.2 trillion, to accommodate the budget deficit.

Few economists doubt that the dollar has further to fall. If we are lucky, the decline will continue on its present steady, relatively undisruptive course (though that will be of scant comfort to American visitors to Oxford Street). Financial market adjustments, however, tend to overshoot. And if matters should get out of hand, US interest rates would have to rise sharply to protect the dollar. Both Wall Street and house prices would tumble, and the result would be a recession, probably a deep one.

Now America is in a special position. Not only does it account for a quarter of the entire world economy. For all its problems, the dollar remains the unchallenged reserve currency, meaning that the US can simply print its own currency to pay international debts.

For years too, the US consumer has been the world's buyer of last resort, whose profligacy has kept the factories humming in Asia, and to a lesser extent Europe. Their trade surpluses will be no protection if the dollar goes through the floor. A sharp recession in the US would damage everyone - West End store-owners, European car-makers and Chinese textile mills alike. But these momentous matters are barely examined on television newscasts and talk shows. When they are, the tone is usually accusatory, against foreigners who bite the hand that feeds them. The deficits, it is argued, are a sign of American strength, a favour by a generous power that permits the rest of the world to buy a little slice of economic heaven. Occasionally, with greater justification, blame is laid at the door of China and the other countries which keep their currencies artificially cheap.

President Bush meanwhile recites his usual mantra about seeking "a strong dollar", while pursuing policies that achieve the opposite. Nor is the US deterred from lecturing other countries about fiscal irresponsibility. Hypocrisy is not a sentiment that occurs to its policymakers.

In reality, Mr Bush is determined to go on cutting taxes. He also wants to part-privatise social security, allowing Americans to invest part of their contributions in special investment accounts - a change that could add trillions to the budget deficit, just as the great wave of baby-boomer retirement is about to break over the system. Barring serious spending cuts or tax increases, the public finances of the US will be a mess for decades.

Maybe the worst won't happen. Maybe Mr Bush will finally choose between guns and butter, maybe Americans will discover the virtues of saving. Maybe China will revalue its currency, maybe Europe's sclerotic economies will reform their over-padded welfare systems. Maybe pigs will fly. Only one thing is sure. To borrow the immortal line of the late Herbert Stein, chairman of President Nixon's council of economic advisers, the last time the dollar was officially devalued: "If something cannot go on forever, it won't."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: currency; dollar; euro; europe; government; imf; usa
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Parts I believe, other parts are BiaSed
1 posted on 12/10/2004 8:21:03 AM PST by UlsterDavy
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To: UlsterDavy

Hmmm, what will happen with EU exports? I guess AirBus's will cost about 30% more now? A bottle of French whine?

This isn't entirely a bad thing.


2 posted on 12/10/2004 8:27:29 AM PST by zek157
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To: zek157

In the future, if Europe wants to do business with the U.S. it will have to stop the rampant INFLATION in their country.

Or they just might go broke.


3 posted on 12/10/2004 8:28:46 AM PST by Bigh4u2
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To: UlsterDavy

And the problem with the cheap dollar affects who?

Heeheeheeheeheehee...


4 posted on 12/10/2004 8:30:07 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: zek157

Of course its not completely a 'bad' thing. Too much of ANY thing is a bad thing.

Greenspan is loving the 'slow growth', keeping rates low. Dollar is pretty darn low right now, so its expensive overseas, but sales (exports) are 'cheaper' for them so they rises and more profit is made, thus more jobs and confidence and rising dollar.

Then it all reverses itself.

I always laugh at the economic alarmists who look at a 'snapshot' of a few weeks, or a month... hell some cycles are years long.

In the end... sound fundamentals, a highly dynamic market, educated/skilled labor pool, and republican leadership... we'll have our ups and downs but in the end we'll be at least 'slightly' better.


5 posted on 12/10/2004 8:32:01 AM PST by FreedomNeocon (2)
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To: UlsterDavy
I always get a kick out of these articles...when they state that only 20% of Americans have passports. Big Deal! The US is so darned big...and we have so many beautiful National and State parks....as well as sub Arctic (Alaska) areas, tropical areas and every concievable climate in between....that unless one wants to be harassed by rude euro weenies, or sweat to death in some turd world swill-hole we do not NEED a reason to leave the good ole US of A.

"We got it all".
6 posted on 12/10/2004 8:33:03 AM PST by taxed2death (A few billion here, a few trillion there...we're all friends right?)
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To: UlsterDavy
"It may not be easy in this Bush-hating era, but a little sympathy nonetheless is surely in order for American visitors to Europe."

Oh sure, pitty the poor American tourist.

These worldly American tourists certainly don't mind supporting socialism in Europe, do they?

I mean ... I mean ... they don't mind supporting it here at home.




Hey mister ... could you spare me the change er ... uh ... dollars for a cup of Starbucks coffee?

7 posted on 12/10/2004 8:33:08 AM PST by G.Mason (The replies by this poster are meant for self amusement only. Use at your own discretion.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

because i love to say the same thing 50,000 times in the 50,000 threads about this subject:
without a lower standard of living in the US the cheaper dollar doesnt change a thing.


8 posted on 12/10/2004 8:43:52 AM PST by wu_trax
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To: UlsterDavy
Just possibly, the dollar as global brand is now going the same way as our pound half a century earlier. The parallels should not be exaggerated, for the relative clout of the US is far greater than that of Britain, even in its imperial heyday. But the implications for America's global dominance are ominous nonetheless.

Wishful thinking from a flaccid European.

9 posted on 12/10/2004 8:46:49 AM PST by Moonman62 (Federal Creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it.)
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To: wu_trax

The lower dollar means everything we buy from abroad, like crude oil, gasoline, steel, etc., are all CHEAPER.

That lowers our costs.

Who wants a lower standard of living??? The kids would have to give up their cell phones and TV's. ;)


10 posted on 12/10/2004 8:47:53 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

something i already wrote somewhere else:

Lets say the dollar keeps falling. what happens? there are a few possibilities:
a) you don't have (enough of) the stuff you import, example oil and probably other raw-materials. the price for those goods will rise and there isnt much you can do about it. US-companies that use those raw-materials to produce their goods will also have to rise their prices. Inflation.
b) you could produce a certain good on your own, but stoped it, because the costs were too high. On the short term, prices for those goods will also rise, because you can't restart production from one day to the other. After a while production in the us would start again, but the costs for it would be still higher than before the fall of the dollar (or there would have been no sense in outsorcing to another country in the first place). also 'some' inflation.

so far we got higher prices. The wages within the US can't rise, because that would destroy the competitive advantage you get out of the fallen dollar. (It doesn't make any difference to me as a european if an american product costs 100€ because its production costs 100$ and the exchange rate is 1:1 or if it costs 100€ because its production costs 130$ and the exchangerate is 1:1.3; works within the US the same way)

so we got higher prices and constant wages, that means a lower standard of living for the people in the US. how much good it will do you for the exports to other countries, i dont know, but i expect the rest of the world to fall into a recession if the us-market is gone. if i loose my job, i wont buy much, no matter how cheap american products are.


11 posted on 12/10/2004 8:53:14 AM PST by wu_trax
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To: UlsterDavy
This is how trade imbalances correct themselves...
12 posted on 12/10/2004 8:57:41 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: UlsterDavy

When everyone talks about a falling dollar, that probably means the trend is about over.

The dollar's fall has been reversed the past few days, and gold and silver have had a sharp correction. I suspect that China, Japan, and the Euros have gotten together and decided to buy dollars, for the short term at least, and maybe to singe some of the American banks that have been enriching themselves in the "carry trade."

I expect the dollar's fall will probably resume, but in the intermediate term it appears to have stabilized.


13 posted on 12/10/2004 9:01:30 AM PST by Cicero (Nil illegitemus carborundum est)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

You what? The lower dollar means everything you get from abroad is more EXPENSIVE!!!!!

This increases your costs! Now go back to economics 101 and concentrate harder ;)!

As everyone keeps pointing out though, the flip side of that is that your goods are cheaper for foreigners which is good for your manufactures whose exports become more competative. (unless they rely on foreign components in which case it is all a double edged sword!)


14 posted on 12/10/2004 9:02:56 AM PST by Brit_Guy
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To: taxed2death

So do I. I eat them up and giggle as I do so.


15 posted on 12/10/2004 9:11:20 AM PST by processing please hold (Islam and Christianity do not mix ----9-11 taught us that)
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To: UlsterDavy
"The marked $10 bill that cracked the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case and sent Bruno Hauptmann to the electric chair in 1936 would have been as familiar in 1996. Fickle francs, perfidious pounds and lightweight lire might change their shape and colour every few years."

Familiar but quite different, not just a $10 bill but a $10 Gold Certificate. Passing these in depression era America was not the way to go unnoticed.
Bad analogy

16 posted on 12/10/2004 9:11:21 AM PST by #1CTYankee
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To: Bigh4u2
In the future, if Europe wants to do business with the U.S. it will have to stop the rampant INFLATION in their country.

Or they just might go broke.


I don't know what the hell you're trying to say (you probably don't know yourself), but inflation is about the same in the EU. Except for Eastern Europe it's actually a lot lower in most EU countries. I know that in Finland it was like 0.2% annually last summer.

If anything high Eurozone inflation would help the dollar; instead what we're seeing is that a sinking dollar is keeping inflation in the EU low, despite a rising oil price. The European industry has been shielded to some extent from a rising oil price by a falling dollar - as opposed to the oil-guzzling US.
17 posted on 12/10/2004 9:14:45 AM PST by muib
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To: UlsterDavy
This is one of the biggest steaming piles I've ever seen.

As I try to point out, a strong currency can indicate an economy is about to collapse due to lack of real capital. Just look at Japan in 1994. The yen was about 95 to the dollar.

I like the throwing in of China as a major US bond holder as well, which it is not. The Chinese economy is about %12 of the US and about %30 of the Japanese economies. I've noticed this is one of the new liberal lines, that China's about to become the predominate economic power on the globe. Considering that Hong Kong is still %15 of their economic output I would say they have a ways to go.
18 posted on 12/10/2004 9:17:58 AM PST by oldleft
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To: UlsterDavy; little jeremiah; MeekOneGOP; EdReform; SierraWasp; Liz

Rupert Cornwell should stick what he does best, writing articles pushing for gay agenda. Of course even when it is pushing the Gay agenda, it writes hate articles about GW, Republicans and Christian Americans.

http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=Rupert%20Cornwell%20Gay

Cornwell = another GIM.*

*See my tagline below about GIMS.


19 posted on 12/10/2004 9:45:34 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Writers of hate GW/Christians/ Republicans Articles = GIM=GAY INFECTED MEDIOTS!)
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To: Grampa Dave

It's amazing what you ferret out, Grampa Dave! And they're only 2% of the population, and they aren't all journalists. Or maybe they are?


20 posted on 12/10/2004 9:48:08 AM PST by little jeremiah (What would happen if everyone decided their own "right and wrong"?)
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To: Cicero
Whose keeping their eye on George Soros?. Any chance his prints are on this mess?.
21 posted on 12/10/2004 9:52:22 AM PST by reloader (Shooting- The only sport endorsed by the Founding Fathers.)
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To: little jeremiah

Before a decade or so ago, they were in the closet. Now many of them are out of the closet. Others have token wives for cover like a former NJ governor.

When the search is done in Yahoo re the writer and Gay, and we get a long history of pushing the Gay agenda. We have identified another GIM*.

Cornwall hates GW and anyone who is a Christian. A review of his articles show that.


22 posted on 12/10/2004 9:54:12 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Writers of hate GW/Christians/ Republicans Articles = GIM=GAY INFECTED MEDIOTS!)
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To: Grampa Dave

Good grab, Grampa!!! (while they play grabass with each other and the truth!)


23 posted on 12/10/2004 9:55:46 AM PST by SierraWasp (Ronald Reagan was an exceptional "celebrity!" Jesse Ventura & Arnold Schwarzenrenegger are NOT!!!)
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To: SierraWasp

These spinning lying hate filled GIMs are incapable of writing or speaking the truth.


24 posted on 12/10/2004 9:58:42 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Writers of hate GW/Christians/ Republicans Articles = GIM=GAY INFECTED MEDIOTS!)
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To: Grampa Dave

you can't say anything against the article itself, so you attack the person who wrote it?


25 posted on 12/10/2004 10:03:47 AM PST by wu_trax
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To: wu_trax

No problem.

The GIMS in America and around the world have started the Cold Civil War II. They deserve to be outed for what they are.


26 posted on 12/10/2004 10:06:03 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Writers of hate GW/Christians/ Republicans Articles = GIM=GAY INFECTED MEDIOTS!)
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To: UlsterDavy

Think back to late 1984 when the dollar was intentionally devalued against the mark, with adequate notice that a clever trader could have made a killing.


27 posted on 12/10/2004 10:29:38 AM PST by Old Professer (The accidental trumps the purposeful in every endeavor attended by the incompetent.)
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To: sauropod

read later


28 posted on 12/10/2004 11:04:20 AM PST by sauropod (Hitlary: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.")
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To: UlsterDavy
But their discomfort hides a paradox. This December, the American visitor to Europe finds himself paying $4 for a cup of coffee or metro fare that would cost $1 at home. His familiar $40 meal will cost $100, and the hotel room that runs at $60 in the typical Midwestern city of Edwardsville, Illinois, say, costs five times as much in London or Manchester. If only he had stayed at home.

So in Euros Europeans are currently paying:
$3.00 for a cup of coffee
$3.00 for metro fare
$75 for the meal (the one that is $40 in the states)
And 3.5 times as much for the European hotel.

WOW your price level is wacky, if the author is to be believed.

29 posted on 12/10/2004 11:12:23 AM PST by NeoCaveman (Harry Reid is an embarrasment to the Senate)
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To: taxed2death

>"The US is so darned big...and we have so many beautiful National and State parks....we do not NEED a reason to leave the good ole US of A."<



Exactly!
We have parking lots bigger than some countries in Europe.
It takes us longer to find our cars than it does to tour Europe


30 posted on 12/10/2004 11:25:21 AM PST by FBD ("You have enemies? Good-That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchhill)
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To: UlsterDavy

Bush's spending spree is going to cause the dollar to lose value here too eventually. I suppose Bush is hoping it won't kick in until he is out of office and then everyone will blame it on his successor. Or maybe he just doesn't care?

One thing is for sure, inflation and interest rates are headed up. Lock in your mortgage rates now.


31 posted on 12/10/2004 11:42:25 AM PST by monday
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To: dubyaismypresident; UlsterDavy

what's the inflation rate in the EU?

I understand the uneployment rate is around 8.8%, correct?


32 posted on 12/10/2004 12:23:04 PM PST by FBD ("You have enemies? Good-That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchhill)
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To: wu_trax; Brit_Guy

You are correct.

I blame it on the lack of coffee this morning.


33 posted on 12/10/2004 2:37:41 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: FBD
what's the inflation rate in the EU?

in the euro-zone its slightly above 2% (2.2-2.3% i think), but its varies from country to country (in germany it was 1.6%)

I'm not sure about the average unemployment rate, but you could be right. we have 10.8% here, others have less.

if we could just have that damn wall back we could easily reduce it by 2-3 points. if we could have our money back, probably even more. and if we then could lock up every crazy commie in the east and shoot them if they try to leave we'd probably have full employment :(
34 posted on 12/10/2004 3:18:47 PM PST by wu_trax
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To: dubyaismypresident
WOW your price level is wacky, if the author is to be believed.

They do pay more for a lot of goods than we do.

35 posted on 12/10/2004 3:31:24 PM PST by Centurion2000 (Truth, Justice and the Texan Way)
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To: UlsterDavy

Big whoop the dollar has lost about 20% against the Euro since its introduction 5 years ago. This while financeing a global war on terror with little world assistance. If a cup of coffe costs.00 in Berlin it's just because Starbucks is setting the price. 4* and 5* Hotel rooms in major western Eoropean cities have always been exorbitant. And just try to find a "dollar store" or any real discount store in western europe. The Governments there mandate profit margins, VAT taxes are hidden, and the government/unions even set a retailers opening hours. Europe may be terribly expensive for the American tourist, but it is for the European as well.


36 posted on 12/10/2004 3:40:19 PM PST by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Centurion2000
as i understand it, you don't have a VAT (= value-added tax = sales tax), at least in most states. that alone makes prices 15-25% higher, depending on where you are in Europe.

i don't know about the rest, but 2 - 2.50€ for a big cup of coffee sounds normal to me, at least for bigger cities.
37 posted on 12/10/2004 3:44:45 PM PST by wu_trax
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To: taxed2death
we do not NEED a reason to leave the good ole US of A

Unless we want to zip up into Canada or take a jaunt into Mexico. You don't need a passport to visit our neighbors, which is the only place I'd want to go...except for the Caribean. Even in Martinique, you don't need a passport.

38 posted on 12/10/2004 3:53:52 PM PST by Ciexyz (I use the term Blue Cities, not Blue States. PA is red except for Philly, Pgh & Erie)
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To: dubyaismypresident

"WOW your price level is wacky, if the author is to be believed."

Well, we have fondly reffered to our prices here as 'rip off Britain' for quite some time. Though it has been noticible in the last couple of years that the gap has narrowed - it is only now with the tumbling dollar that we really notice the difference again! For me the big difference is I used to look at the States and see wage parity, but that your prices were much cheaper meaning the US had a vastly, vastly better quality of life. Now though I look (I work for a multinational) and note that my US colleagues of the same grade earn far less than me when converted - so even with the cheaper prices the lifestyle difference narrows. Of course, I should probably be worried as if the market works my job will be outsourced! And of course, my tax burdern is much heavier. That said, the draw to spend a few more years in the States for financial reasons isn't quite what it was. However, in the meantime - let the party continue. New York Shops... here I come!


39 posted on 12/10/2004 4:01:47 PM PST by Brit_Guy
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To: Brit_Guy
However, in the meantime - let the party continue. New York Shops... here I come!

This is why the weak dollar doesn't bug me. Come and shop, it's great for the American economy.

40 posted on 12/10/2004 4:49:38 PM PST by NeoCaveman (There is no dufu but DUFU and PJ Comix is its writer)
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To: UlsterDavy
Despite the trauma of 9/11, the US remains in many respects oblivious to the world beyond its borders.

Not oblivious, we just don't care.

But I agree with the author on one point: We need to save more money. Marketers and bankers try to make me ashamed about my lack of outstanding debt, but I like the way I do things. I have a peace of mind that comes from owning all I have - lock, stock, and barrel. If I can't afford it, I don't buy it.

I am a free man, not a serf indentured to some damned bank.

Thrift used to be considered a virtue. Now it is scoffed and shunned as provincial and non-productive.

But look where trillions of dollars of debt have gotten us - our currency and economy are beholden to the whims of foreign investors, instead of belonging to Americans as it should be.

41 posted on 12/10/2004 5:44:06 PM PST by FierceDraka ("Megatons Make It Fun!")
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To: UlsterDavy
1969: One dollar = 1/35 of an ounce of gold.

2004: One dollar = less than 1/400 of an ounce of gold.

Stealth devaluation by Richard Nixon.

Could this be part of the reason?

42 posted on 12/10/2004 7:21:14 PM PST by boris (The deadliest weapon of mass destruction in history is a Leftist with a word processor)
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To: wu_trax

>"if we could just have that damn wall back we could easily reduce it by 2-3 points. if we could have our money back, probably even more. and if we then could lock up every crazy commie in the east and shoot them if they try to leave we'd probably have full employment :("<

- HA! are you telling me...communism is back in fashion, in (formerly) East Germany?
You'd think they would have learned...


43 posted on 12/11/2004 12:18:56 AM PST by FBD ("You have enemies? Good-That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchhill)
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To: UlsterDavy
Thus this modern crisis is barely noticed back home. Despite the trauma of 9/11, the US remains in many respects oblivious to the world beyond its borders.

Excuse me? We only sent our most beloved halfway arounf the world to fight Islamofascism and we get a respose like this from the Euroweenie journalist as a reward.

No good deed goes unpunished.

44 posted on 12/11/2004 12:31:37 AM PST by Dec31,1999 (www.protestwarrior.com)
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To: UlsterDavy
American tourists arriving in Europe will find they are paying five times more for a coffee or a hotel room than they would at home. But in the US, the currency crisis is passing almost unnoticed. Rupert Cornwell reports 10 December 2004

No wonder the elitist news media is complaining about this, because they are getting the short in the stick on this one when they visit their elitist anti-America friends in Europe.

45 posted on 12/11/2004 12:39:13 AM PST by Paul C. Jesup
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To: FierceDraka

To tell you the truth, I wish I were in your position. I'd be nice. But until that time.....I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go....(Whistling)


46 posted on 12/11/2004 12:39:27 AM PST by Dec31,1999 (www.protestwarrior.com)
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To: boris
no, neither the euro nor the yen, nor any other important currency is covered by gold.

Gold is a really good idea for monarchies or insane dictators, but not for a free market-economy.
47 posted on 12/11/2004 2:55:14 AM PST by wu_trax
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To: FBD
Yes, you would think that... but apparently they didn't.

I mean, personally I am all for a strong social security system, strong unions etc. I really want that, I couldn't live in a country like the USA. But these people, they just want the state to do EVERYTHING for them. We made € 1 trillion of new debt to spend over there + a lot of tax-money they got.

Now we cut the unemployment benefits and made the unemployed prove they search for a job, simply because we ran out of money, and instead of searching for a job or stating something on their own, they demonstrate against it.

Given our economical situation even the unions have been fairly reasonable in the last years, but a lot of people in the east haven't.

Then, add to that that its now practically impossible to govern this country. We have 16 states now, the elections are purely at random and every one of them could change the majorities in our 'Senate'. That means that there is an election somewhere every few month, because of that the federal government doesn't want to hurt anyone. Ofc it's not like the federal government could actually decide anything on its own, our 'Senate' has some form of veto-power over almost everything. Sure, Schröder could keep us out of the Iraq war but foreign affairs is almost the only thing he can decide on his own. If you now think the states do a lot of things on their own, you are wrong. Except for the education-system (which sucks) they also have no real power. its all one big mix-up between federalism and centralism. it more or less worked with fewer states, but now things became impossible.

let me give you one word of advice: if you have a federalism that actually works KEEP IT, do not, under any circumstances, let the federal government take any more power than absolutely necessary. Either that or completly switch to centralism. For here i don't care which way as long as we get a working government.

but other than that, life's great :)
48 posted on 12/11/2004 3:55:54 AM PST by wu_trax
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To: Brit_Guy

The cheaper dollar is a shot in the arm for our agricultural exports, and that's a huge help to our economy. As to imported goods costing more, I haven't noticed that cutting into the sale of big plasma TVs this Christmas.


49 posted on 12/11/2004 4:06:38 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: taxed2death
...that unless one wants to be harassed by rude euro weenies...

Save yourself the trip "over the pond"...you can be harassed by euro-trash right here in New England. What a bunch of arrogant, self-absorbed snobs.

50 posted on 12/11/2004 4:14:29 AM PST by who knows what evil? (If arrogance was beauty, New England women would be supermodels!)
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