Good morning — do you know where your U.S. dollar is?
The relative value of the greenback has been been sliding for seven months now, for a couple of reasons. First, investors are worried that the Federal Reserve's policy of keeping interest rates at record lows will lead to inflation, in which case the U.S. dollar would be worth much less. Second, as the economic crisis drags on, international calls have mounted for a new currency to replace to the dollar as the global first choice.
In a must-read analysis, Simon Johnson argues that the U.S. could arrest the dollar's fall if policymakers chose — but they don't want to. Why? Because a falling dollar makes U.S. goods cheaper for other nations to buy. Foreign demand is good for American manufacturing, and Johnson says that's good Rust Belt politics for President Obama as the congressional midterms approach.
On a similar note, Congress is considering a tax incentive for employers who actually, you know, hire people.
Also big in the news: Commercial real estate, with office vacancies hitting 16.5 percent and the Federal Reserve worried that banks are setting themselves up for a disastrous wave of loan defaults (WSJ, subs. req'd.).