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US Lack of Investment Is Destabilizing the World | The Nation

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The Notion

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US Lack of Investment Is Destabilizing the World

Here in the United States all we seem to hear about is deficits and debt. Yet even the countries that hold a lot of our debt are concerned for our lack of investment at home.

China’s pension fund head recently said that the US government needs to reduce not just its fiscal deficit but its trade gap, in order to maintain the dollar’s stability. US average levels need to be closer to those of developing nations and emerging markets, the manager of China’s Sovereign Wealth fund advised.

In other words, even China, which sends so many of its goods here, is worried about our imbalance between imports and exports. And there’s another problem. When the US rich used stimulus money and Federal Reserve help not to hire here but to seek to maximize profits by hiring abroad, and to gamble on commodity markets, that cash not only failed to boost the US economy as it was intended, it drove up commodity prices and the inflation risk in China and elsewhere.

And that, say the Chinese, is not only bad for most Americans but also destabilizes the global economy. Not exactly the message we’ve been hearing stateside.

The piece the Chinese remember but our media tend to ignore is that ours is a global world. Our so-called “jobless recovery” is no great news for anyone. Outsourcing, high unemployment and rock-bottom wages for those with jobs that can’t be outsourced leave even those with full-time work in no mood to spend on Chinese products or anyone else’s.

And less faith in the US economy and its currency abroad will likely make our national debt bigger, not smaller, as the value of Treasury bonds teeters downwards.

GRITtv guest Bob Herbert had it right when he wrote that the United States needs a better ruling class after this one “stopped being concerned with the health of society and became almost entirely obsessed with money.” The Chinese apparently agree. Now what can we do to get Washington to become a responsible partner for Beijing?

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and ‘like” us on Facebook.

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