''Moscow on the Hudson'' at Financial Sense, Turk''s new analysis at GoldMoney

Section:

Journal Inquirer
Manchester, Connecticut
Saturday, January 8, 2005

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?
newsid=13709916&BRD=985&PAG=461&dept_id=161559&rfi=6

Whether the United States is doing enough financially to
help the victims of the Asian earthquake and tidal wave
is the subject of much debate around the world and at
home.

President Bush's initial pledge of $15 million from the
U.S. government was recognized as puny, and he
quickly raised it to $350 million while asking his
father, the former president, and former President Bill
Clinton to help raise relief money from the public. This
week relief money being raised by U.S. charities was
estimated to be nearing $200 million. And then there
is the enormous contribution of the U.S. military ships,
helicopters, transport planes, and soldiers sent to the
disaster area to rescue survivors and deliver relief.
That will bring U.S. contributions to more than a
billion dollars.

While this might seem pretty respectable and while
the empathy of Americans cannot be doubted, U.S.
financial efforts in Asian disaster relief are an
illusion.

For the United States has been for years now the
biggest international debtor, borrowing for mere
consumption, rather than capital growth, what is
estimated at 80 percent of the world's annual savings.
Indeed, just during the week of the Asian disaster,
the Federal Reserve reported that foreign central
banks purchased another $5.6 billion of U.S.
government debt.

That is, in just one week the United States took from
the rest of the world more than five times as much as
the country is likely to provide for Asian disaster
relief.

It might be different if this debt was going to be
repaid soon, but it will not be. U.S. debt has risen
beyond any chance of repayment because the U.S.
government and Americans generally have discovered
that the world's reliance on the U.S. dollar as the only
international reserve currency -- the currency in which
most trade is conducted -- allows the United States to
levy a huge tribute on the world. Foreign central banks
have been buying U.S. government debt only to keep
trade going and to avoid devaluation of their dollar
reserves.

Even so, the rest of the world seems to be realizing
that it may be possible to conduct international trade
without paying such a heavy tax to the Americans. The
European Union has issued its own currency, the euro,
whose role in international trade is increasing, while
there is talk of creating Asian and Islamic currency
blocs. As the rest of the world starts moving away
from the dollar, Americans will have to start pulling
their own weight again.

In any case, the only mathematically correct answer
to how much the United States is contributing to
Asian disaster relief is: nothing, really. For
everything the United States is giving has been
borrowed from foreigners.

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