C$

I have some Canadian dollars (via FXC). I do worry that about the collapse in commodity prices (Canada is resource rich) and about the effect our own economic situation will have on theirs (“when the U.S. catches a cold,” and all that) – and about their unreassuring name (Canadian dollars are known as “loonies”). But Canada has less military expenditure draining its resources than we do, and if this has it right, their debt has been shrinking for the past 11 years. Canada does now plan small deficits to stimulate the economy, but nothing like what we’ve (rightly) embarked upon.

A$

This article suggests the Australian dollar (FXA?) could be a better value – and that China’s stimulus package could soon be driving commodity prices up from their recent depths. (“‘The 147% jump in ocean transport prices is evidence that China’s $580 billion stimulus plan will lift raw materials,’ said Ihab Salib, who oversees $3 billion at Federated Investors Inc. in Pittsburgh, US. That would benefit countries exporting them, so Salib is actively trading Norway’s kroner and Australian and Canadian dollars, nicknamed Aussies and loonies.”)

There is the small problem, noted recently, that Australia may become uninhabitable. But in the meantime, its national debt is an even lower percentage of GDP than Canada’s.

I’m not suggesting that we become foreign currency speculators. Then again, with the U.S. printing money like crazy (again, rightly), I’m not sure I want to bet 100% of my money on the U.S. dollar.

JOURNALISTIC INNUMERACY

James Musters: “Take a read of the Beat the Press blog each week. It provides some second thinking on the popular economic ‘facts’ of the day.”

☞ For example:

February 14, 2009

Post Exaggerates the Size of the Stimulus Bill

Okay folks, this is 2-year stimulus, not a 1-year package. (Actually, as the Republicans were fond of pointing out, much of the spending will not take place until 2011, year 3 of the package.) That means that there is a word to describe the Post’s claim that the package is more than 5 percent of GDP: “wrong.”

Of course, if the Post was interested in accurate reporting it might also have noticed that the package saved the government $140 billion by reversing a change in the tax code put in place by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that allowed banks to write off the bad debts of banks that they acquire. That would substantially reduce the long-term cost of the stimulus.

If might also have been helpful to put some of the items highlighted by Republicans in context so that their importance would be clearer to readers. The $198 million for Filipino World War II veterans comes to 0.024 percent of the stimulus package. The $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts is 0.006 percent and the $25 million for the Smithsonian is equal to 0.003 percent of the stimulus.

–Dean Baker

REPUBLICAN INSURGENCY

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has famously called the Taliban a model for GOP insurgency. Bob Shrum comments on Republican hopes for Obama’s failure. (“Facts don’t matter to the GOP anymore. Nor, incredibly, does the opinion of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is urging swift passage of the stimulus. The pro-business party is willing to wreck business itself if it takes a Democratic president down with it.”)

FIREFOX

Dick Theriault: “Why on earth are you still using Internet Explorer, officially recognized everywhere as the world’s most insecure browser? Even the Government urges its agencies to avoid it because of security issues. Firefox is superior in every way on both platforms, and you should switch as fast as you can.”

Peter Snow Cao:This link shows Firefox to have a 45.5% market share. Firefox is clearly superior. Give it a try.”

George Hamlett: “You might want to try Foxmarks. It allows you to sync your bookmarks and (optionally) passwords across browsers and across access points by storing them on the Internet.”

Dennis King: “I like FireFox and use it 99% of the time. I found it to be generally faster than IE. But be warned, there are occasionally sites that act a little goofy with it. When this happens, I still need to drag out IE.”

YESTERDAY’S LINK

Emanuel Rosen (author of Think Like a Shrink): “The Bill Moyers interview [with Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund] was breathtakingly illuminating.”

 

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