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In the 20th century, economic growth resulted from improved technologies, new investment, and increases in labor productivity, which raised consumers’ incomes and purchasing power. In contrast, in the 21st century, economic growth has resulted from debt expansion.
Most Americans have experienced little, if any, income growth in the 21st century. Instead, consumers have kept the economy going by maxing out their credit cards and refinancing their mortgages in order to consume the equity in their homes.
The income gains of the 21st century have gone to corporate chief executives, shareholders of off shoring corporations and financial corporations.
In the 21st century the U.S. economy has produced net new jobs only in low paid domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders, hospital orderlies and retail clerks. The kind of jobs that provided ladders of upward mobility into the middle class are being exported abroad or filled by foreigners brought in on work visas. Today when you purchase an American name brand, you are supporting economic growth and consumer incomes in China and Indonesia, not in Detroit and Cincinnati.
The U.S. Treasury does not have $700 billion on hand with which to buy the troubled assets from the troubled institutions. The Treasury will have to borrow the $700 billion from abroad.
The dependency of Treasury Secretary Paulson’s bailout scheme on foreign willingness to absorb more Treasury paper in order that the Treasury has the money to bail out the troubled institutions is heavy proof that the U.S. is in a financially dependent position that is inconsistent with that of America’s “superpower” status. The U.S. is no longer a superpower.
If the US Treasury’s assumption of bailout responsibilities becomes excessive, the US dollar will lose its reserve currency role. The minute that occurs, foreign financing of America’s twin deficits will cease, as will the bailout. The U.S. government would have to turn to the printing of paper money as did Weimar, Germany.
For now this pending problem is hidden from view, because in times of panic, the tradition is to flee into “safety,” that is, into U.S. Treasury debt obligations. The safety of Treasuries will be revealed by the extent of the bailout.