Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke recognized today that America’s trade deficit played a central role in the global economic crisis. Then after he recognized the problem, he went on to solve a different one. more »
nytimes.com — Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said on Monday that global trade imbalances played a central role in the global economic crisis and warned that both the United States and fast-growing Asian nations needed to do more to prevent them from recurring.
“We were smug,” Mr. Bernanke said of the United States in a question and answer session following his speech.
In answer to another question, he said the American financial regulatory system was “inadequate” at managing the immense inflows of cheap money from China and other countries that had huge trade surpluses.
A few weeks ago, in a case involving a tire import surge President Obama enforced our trade agreement with China. The agreement spelled out that a disruptive surge in imports would be remedied by imposing a tariff, which is what the President did. more »
nytimes.com — As economists, pundits and politicians debate the reasons for the dollar’s rapid fall, Robert Stevenson and his workers in downtown Buffalo, N.Y., watch the slide with glee.
Mr. Stevenson’s family-owned company, Eastman Machine, has been making cutting tools for the textile industry for 120 years. A year ago, in the depths of the financial crisis, Mr. Stevenson had to lay off a dozen workers, but the dollar’s almost 20 percent decline since March has made his goods much more competitive overseas. Next month, Mr. Stevenson hopes to sign a multimillion-dollar deal in Europe that could enable him to rehire his workers.
“This wouldn’t have happened five years ago, or even two years ago,” he said. “Business conditions are still slow but the dollar has allowed us to be much more aggressive overseas.”
inthesetimes.com — At one point the garment industry was the largest employer in New York City, providing jobs for tens of thousands of mainly immigrant workers and entrepreneurial opportunities for many others. Now it has almost vanished.
Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, a new documentary film by Marc Levin to be shown on HBO Monday evening, Oct. 19, tells the story of the city's rag trade from both sides: the hard-driving, cigar-chomping small businessmen and the hard-working, predominately female workforce. ("Schmatta" is Yiddish for rag; trailer available below.)
Through a mixture of empathetic interviews and fascinating archival photos and film, Schmatta makes clear how important the unions were in transforming workers’ lives and in maintaining uniform standards in a dynamic, highly competitive business.