The euro, worth 83 cents in the early George W. Bush years, is at $1.45.
The British pound is back up over $2, the highest level since the Carter era. The Canadian dollar, which used to be worth 65 cents, is worth more than the U.S. dollar for the first time in half a century.
Oil is over $90 a barrel. Gold, down to $260 an ounce not so long ago, has hit $800.
Have gold, silver, oil, the euro, the pound and the Canadian dollar all suddenly soared in value in just a few years?
Nope. The dollar has plummeted in value, more so in Bush's term than during any comparable period of U.S. history. Indeed, Bush is presiding over a worldwide abandonment of the American dollar.
Is it all Bush's fault? Nope.
The dollar is plunging because America has been living beyond her means, borrowing $2 billion a day from foreign nations to maintain her standard of living and to sustain the American Imperium.
The prime suspect in the death of the dollar is the massive trade deficits America has run up, some $5 trillion in total since the passage of NAFTA and the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994.
In 2006, that U.S. trade deficit hit $764 billion. The current account deficit, which includes the trade deficit, plus the net outflow of interest, dividends, capital gains and foreign aid, hit $857 billion, 6.5 percent of GDP. As some of us have been writing for years, such deficits are unsustainable and must lead to a decline of the dollar.
A sinking dollar means a poorer nation, and a sinking currency has historically been the mark of a sinking country. And a superpower with a sinking currency is a contradiction in terms.
What does this mean for America and Americans?
As nations realize that the dollars they are being paid for their products cannot buy in the world markets what they once did, they will demand more dollars for those goods. This will mean rising prices for the imports on which America has become more dependent than we have been since before the Civil War.
U.S. tourists traveling to the countries whence their ancestors came will find that the money they saved up does not go as far as they thought.
U.S. soldiers stationed overseas will find the cost of rent, gasoline, food, clothing and dining out takes larger and larger bites out of their paychecks. The people those U.S. soldiers defend will be demanding more and more of their money.
U.S. diplomats stationed overseas, students and businessmen are already facing tougher times.
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