Thursday, December 20, 2007

Virtuous circle

One off-the-cuff comment from George Bush during his year-end press conference provided a little insight into how he thinks about global financial flows. He was asked about the trend of investments by overseas wealth funds (East Asia and the Arab states of the Gulf) in Wall Street financial institutions. Before the cliches, he said

I like to get our money back.

His framework is thus that the Gulf and Asian countries have money because of US purchases of oil and manufactured goods, and thus that it's "our money" which has to return to the US.

There's a sense in which he's correct (meaning that there's an actual economist getting through to him) because the US global spending spree has to be financed by other countries. But it's packaged in way that means that huge foreign borrowing is of no concern to him, since it's all just "our money".

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