This was further proof that all those Democratic complaints in last year's election about Bush's tax cuts mortgaging our future were nothing but hot air, signifying nothing.
Bernanke was also bullish about the global economy, believing that the U.S. economy would benefit from its continued expansion by selling more of our products overseas. Bush's free-trade policies pushed U.S. exports last year to $1.4 trillion, and the Fed is looking for that number to climb to a new record this year as well.
No wonder Wall Street investors largely ignored the latest record trade-deficit data as having little or no impact on our economy. It is a figure that has grown increasingly meaningless in recent years as the U.S. economy grows stronger no matter what the trade deficit is. (We had trade surpluses during the Great Depression.)
And what about all those scare stories that the United States is losing its competitive edge in the world, in part because we lag behind so many other industrialized nations in math and science scores?
A recent announcement here, that was consigned to the back pages of our newspapers and got zero nightly news treatment, raises a lot of questions about the so-called knowledge gap we keep hearing about.
Intel announced earlier this month it has designed a new computer chip that is much more efficient and powerful than any previous chip. It is so small and so powerful that tiny cell phones will be able to perform tasks that only today's large desktop-computer models have been able to accomplish.
The microscopic transistor that makes all this possible is so tiny that more than 300 of them will be able to fit on a single red blood cell. Experts say they are going to make medical, bionic and other technology advances that have heretofore only existed in our imaginations.
But such feats of technology seem to be almost commonplace in the United States, where such scientific advances continue to outpace all of the world's industrialized countries. If we lag other countries in test scores, why aren't they making the same advances in technology and medicine?
Part of our advantage has to do with immigration, drawing the best and the brightest to our country. But I suspect these test-score studies have a lot of holes in them that never get reported here. We're still turning out a lot of very smart students who are going to push the technological revolution to a new and higher American orbit.
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