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September 20, 2004

Budget, Debt, and Deficits
Who is in more financial trouble: social security or the rest of the government?

There is a common sense that social security is bankrupt and people now in their 20s and 30s won’t get anything from it. That is false. Social security can fund all projected benefits until someti…

September 26, 2004

Capital Flows
Confronting Iran would be a lot easier if the Saudis had more spare capacity

David Sanger looks at Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in today’s New York Times. Sanger suggests it will be hard to stop Iran’s quest for nukes, no matter what the nature of Iran’s regime -…

October 14, 2004

United States
Another month, another bad trade number

The latest monthly trade data came out today, and was worse than expected -- though in my view that indicates expectations have yet to catch up with reality. Exports have been stuck in the $95-96 bi…

October 19, 2004

United States
The FT has a good article on how the US is funding its trade deficit

The Treasury provides monthly data on foreign purchases of US long-term securities. It is not a complete look at how the US is funding its trade and current account deficit, but it is the best snap …

November 11, 2004

Korea blinks, rejoins the dollar block

Or so the FT reports. The Bank of Korea seems to have concluded the Korean won was strong enough and bought dollars/ sold won to limit the won’s appreciation. And the Bank of Korea may not have bee…

November 20, 2004

United States
Large Players in Large Markets

One of the world’s ironies is that even as John Snow putters on about how currency values should be set by market forces, the market -- or at least the private market -- is now playing a comparativel…

November 24, 2004

Financial Markets
Chinese yuan hits new low against euro, swiss franc, pound …

Just a reminder of what falling dollar currently means. Dollar depreciation is clearly part of what is needed to bring the US trade deficit down to a more sustainable level. But what is the case fo…

November 29, 2004

Et tu, Indonesia

First, Russia decides it wants to hold more Euros and fewer dollars. And now Indonesia?"Indonesia’s Aslim Tadjuddin, deputy governor for monetary policy at the central bank, said on Nov. 26 that the…

December 5, 2004

The borrower industrial complex

Sunday’s New York Times article on US consumer culture -- and its financial enablers -- has a domestic focus. But doesn’t the term "borrower-industrial complex" describe American’s relationship with…

December 11, 2004

United States
The Global Test

My harping on the fact that US economic policy now has to pass a global test is not simply meant to score rhetorical points. I suspect that the same folks who financed the expansion of the US curren…