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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.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”