From Bill Bonner, in New York but on his way to New Orleans, where people realize that gold is real money…
Today, Bloomberg reports something we’ve all know for a while: the United States is consuming more goods than it produces – that much is evident just by looking at September’s $64.3 billion trade deficit.
The U.S. trade deficit will most likely approach the $800 billion mark for 2006, but not just because China refuses to let their currency rise relative to the U.S. dollar, as many politicians would like to make it seem.
“In general, the Democrats have blamed china and its pegged currency for much of the loss of manufacturing job, and they have blamed President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans for not doing enough to protect U.S. workers,” continues the Bloomberg piece.
“More flexibility by the Chinese would undoubtedly give freer rein to market forces within that country, which would be in its own interest,” reports Bloomberg. “And it might slow the rapid rise in the U.S. deficit in trade with China, though only a bit.
“So, what’s your meeting on?”
“We’re making a movie.”
“Oh, yeah? What’s it on?”
We’d just jumped in a cab in front of the Merrill Lynch building at One World Center in NY and were circling around Ground Zero on our way up West Side to Midtown. If questioned later by the police, we would have sworn Woody Allen was the cabdriver; his accent was so quintessentially Manhattan. That is, I suppose, if we hadn’t have caught a glimpse of him in the rearview mirror. What we did see of him could have spared thirty or so pounds and live quite happily.
“Debt?!? Like, credit card debt? American consumer debt?”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
It was fairly early on Wednesday morning and we’d stayed way too late at a DVD release party the night before. Patrick and Christine, the husband and wife director and producer team with whom we’ve been discussing our film, threw a party for the release of their first documentary: WordPlay, a film about Will Shortz, the editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, and a host of competitors at the annual crossword tournament they hold in Stamford, Connecticut each year.
“Credit card debt…” the cabbie whinnied. “Aw c’mon… why didn’t you choose a more cheerful subject… something funny and entertaining… something the whole family could enjoy… something like… like… I dunno… gay pedophiles who become serial murderers… yeah, that would definitely be more cheerful.”
“Gay pedophiliac serial killers?”
“Yeah, that would be way more entertaining and enjoyable than credit card debt.”
“Well, it’s not just about credit card debt…”
“Don’t get me started. Whatever kind of debt it is… it ain’t funny. Is this a horror movie you’re making?”
“Well the producers we’re working with specialize in horror films… and comedies.”
“Oh, perfect. You know what else you need in your movie? A campaign to rid America of the Cute Penguin syndrome we’re experiencing… yeah, kill all cute penguins… DOWN with Cute Penguinism, I say… down with Cute Penguinism.”
Later, as our meeting was drawing to a close, Patrick suggested he wasn’t sure that he and Christine could find a drier subject than crossword puzzles…. but maybe Empire of Debt was it.