Poverty

Remittances from immigrant blue-collar workers are three times as large as all foreign aid combined.

Who changes the world? Governments, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, NGOs and charities, scientists, and other influential types doubtless do their part. But the populist force of tens of millions of blue-collar and services workers – expatriate Filipina nurses, Indonesian maids in Hong Kong, Haitian restaurant-workers in Miami, West African taxi drivers in Paris, Thai cooks and Lebanese accountants, DC’s Salvadoran construction-workers – appears to be their match.

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Global Economy

60 export credit agencies operate worldwide.

ProgressiveEconomy’s latest paper argues for renewal of the Ex-Im Bank’s charter on four grounds:

(a) A useful support for export-based growth in the immediate future, with the U.S. economy continuing to need to tap foreign demand in the long recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis;

(b) An important means to support large-scale sales of power equipment, urban infrastructure, aviation, and other long-term contracts for developing countries where private credit is less easily available, and also a way to help introduce new exporters and smaller businesses to exporting;

(c) A valuable lender-of-last-resort tool to be kept in reserve in the event of future financial crisis and sudden collapses of private credit; and

(d) A matter of legitimate national self-interest, ensuring that in a world of $300 billion or more in annual public credit, the agencies run by other governments do not place U.S.-based businesses and their workers at impossible disadvantages.

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At Home

The U.S. has never defaulted on public debt.

As Congress debates the “debt ceiling,” advice from Alexander Hamilton’s “Report on Public Credit” (Jan. 1790):

“[W]hen the credit of a country is in any degree questionable, it never fails to give an extravagant premium, in one shape or another, upon all the loans it has occasion to make. Nor does the evil end here; the same disadvantage must be sustained upon whatever is to be bought on terms of future payment. From this constant necessity of borrowing and buying dear, it is easy to conceive how immensely the expenses of a nation, in a course of time, will be augmented by an unsound state of the public credit.”

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At Home

53 export credit programs operate worldwide.

A small but important task for Congress this month: The Export-Import Bank needs to get its President confirmed. Mr. Hochberg’s four-year term is running out, and he requires a vote to stay on the job. Without it, the Bank will lack a quorum of Directors and go into a sort of ‘sleep mode,’ able only to approve loans whose value is too small to require Board approval.

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At Home

Americans are saving and exporting more.

Five years after the fall, are low growth and high unemployment a “New Normal?” If you are an analyst examining the bottom lines of GDP reports, perhaps so. If yours was one of the vanished construction jobs, for sure. But there’s also a more complicated and optimistic story: one of contraction in some parts of economic life and growth in others, a painful evolution, and an emerging economy different from the one before.

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Global Economy

Counterfeit share of trade: 1.7%?

Ten years ago, U.S. Customs & Border Patrol agents seized about 6,000 shipments of counterfeit goods, valued (in comparison to legitimate sales) of $99 million. Five years ago the totals were 14,000 shipments and $197 million; by 2012, seizures had risen to 22,838 shipments of counterfeit goods at a value of nearly $1.3 billion.

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