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Yesterday, I watched the tape of a Congressional hearing in which Representative Michele Bachmann told the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, that “China, Russia and Kazakhistan [sic]” were seeking the establishment of a “global currency.” She asked Bernanke whether he believed there was a need for a global currency, to which he answered, curtly, “no.” As the Center for American Progress highlighted yesterday this meme has been percolating through the right-wing echo chamber for the last 72 hours. It started with the Drudge Report, quickly worked its way onto Fox News, and then to the floor of Congress.
Where did this come from? It seems that those who originated and adopted this idea do not understand what a “reserve currency” is. Since shortly after the end of World War II, the world has had a currency that is de facto dominant and has been held by central banks around the world as a reserve (much in the way the world held gold reserves before World War II). That currency is the United States dollar. The fact that a global consensus is emerging against this practice is a powerful statement indicating a lack of confidence in the U.S. economy. But it has nothing to do with the creation of a “global currency.” Nonetheless, this incident is extremely useful: it allows us to pinpoint economic illiterates. Which leaves an important question: how do illiterates get such swift access to the airwaves?
Update, March 26, 2009, 1:50 P.M.
Dumb, meet dumber. Michele Bachmann is proposing legislation to thwart the menace of a global currency. But, her office clarifies, she’s not trying to influence what other countries do with respect to their reserve currencies.
“She’s talking about the United States,” Bachmann spokesperson Debbee Keller told Greg Sargent. “This legislation would ensure that the U.S. dollar remain the currency of the United States.”
Who exactly is seeking to end the use of the dollar as the currency of the United States? Bachmann’s serial delusions could furnish the material for a sitcom.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”