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NYT: Power Shift in U.S. Stirs Economic Worries Overseas

Author: Liz Alderman
November 3, 2010

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New York Times economics writers Liz Alderman reports on new global challenges after the midterm elections.

As Republicans prepare to assert new authority in Congress, America's overseas trading partners worry that Washington's political upheaval may pose fresh challenges to the global economy.

Despite pledges to curb government spending and the huge United States budget deficit, Republicans are expected to address anxiety over unemployment and flagging growth by pushing for an extension of the income tax cuts passed during the presidency of George W. Bush — a move that would add to the deficit and, by extension, further weaken the dollar.

“The rest of the world, including Asia, is looking at the United States and seeing no real effective policy measures in bringing the economy back on track,” said Bart van Ark, the chief economist at the Conference Board, which measures American economic indicators. “That is making the U.S. lose its legitimacy in the global economic community as a leader in terms of providing solutions.”

Maintaining taxes at their current relatively low rates could help lift consumer spending in the United States, while a cheaper dollar would make American exports more competitive. But analysts said those fixes would be only temporary and would be unlikely to reverse the waning of the United States economic clout, as emerging markets — led by China, India and Brazil — outpace industrial nations as drivers of global growth.

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