One of the questions hanging over our politics today is whether President Obama appreciates the impact on his own legacy of the collapsing dollar. The futures market yesterday was putting the value of the dollar below a 1,500th of an ounce of gold on what the Bloomberg News attributed to concerns about ???escalating U.S. debt.??? There???s a lot of blame to go around in respect of the debt, including to Congress, which has the constitutional authority to regulate the value of the dollar. But it is not the portraits of the leaders of Congress that are put on America???s currency. The portraits that normally go on our currency are portraits of the presidents,* whose treasury secretary signs the American scrip.
Yet as president, Mr. Obama has never given us a major speech in which he talks about how he views money or what he thinks of what has become of the dollar during his presidency. The value of the greenback has, for the record, fallen more than 43% from the 853rd of an ounce of gold that it was worth at the end of the day on which Mr. Obama acceded to the presidency. That is less of a decline than the 68% slide in the value of the dollar under President George W. Bush. But Mr. Bush was in office eight years. The steepness of the plunge under Mr. Obama is breathtaking.
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