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Encyclopedia > U.S. Economy
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Contents

Overview

Economy of the United States
Currency 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents
Fiscal year 1 October - 30 September
Trade Organisations NAFTA and OECD
Statistics
GDP Ranking (2003) [1] (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/rankorder/2001rank.html) 1st
GDP (Q2 '04 annualized [2] (http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/Z1/current/accessible/f6.htm)) $11.649 trillion
GDP growth rate (2003) 3.1%
GDP per Capita (Q2 '04 annualized [3] (http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/Z1/current/accessible/f6.htm)) $39,689
GDP by sector (2001) agriculture (2%), industry (18%), services (80%)
Inflation rate (2003) 2.3%
Pop below poverty line 13%
Labour force (June 2004) 147.3m (includes unemployed)
Labour force by occupation (2002) managerial and professional (31.1%), technical, sales and administrative support (28.6%), services (14.1%), manufacturing, mining, transportation, and crafts (23.7%), farming, forestry, and fishing (2.5%) (excludes unemployed)
Unemployment rate (September 2004 [4] (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm)) 5.4%
Main Industries petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Trading Partners
Imports $1.148 trillion
Main Partners (2001) Canada 19%, Mexico 11.5%, Japan 11.1%, Mainland China 8.9%, Germany 5.2%, UK, Taiwan (2001)
Exports $723bn
Main Partners (2001) Canada 22.4%, Mexico 13.9%, Japan 7.9%, UK 5.6%, Germany 4.1%, France, Netherlands
Public Finances
Public Debt (2003) $6.86 trillion (62.4% of GDP)
External Debt (2001) $1.4 trillion
Revenues (2003) ([5] (http://www.bea.doc.gov/bea/dn/nipaweb/TableView.asp?SelectedTable=84&FirstYear=2002&LastYear=2004&Freq=Ann)) $3.032 trillion
Expenses (2003) $3.400 trillion
Economic Aid (ODA) (1997) $6.9 billion (0.08% of GDP)


The United States has the largest economy by country, second-largest by economic union (after the EU), and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $39,689 (2nd Quarter 2004 annualized) . In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy considerably less regulation than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, lay off workers, and develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to entry in their rivals' home markets than the barriers to entry of foreign firms in American markets. American firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment, although their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II.


Recent US economic history

The Roaring Twenties

With the end of World War I, Republican Senator Warren G. Harding ran for President advocating "a Return to Normalcy," and won with over 60% of the vote. Harding implemented laissez faire economic policies, and shifted reesponsibility for departmental spending plans to himself, enabling him to balance the budget (the federal debt was reduced by about a third from 1920 to 1930). Harding fought for tariff reform and repeal of excess profits law and high income taxes. Upon Harding's death in 1923, these policies were continued by his successor, Calvin Coolidge. The nation saw good economic growth for the decade. This period of prosperity, along with the culture of the time, was known as the Roaring Twenties. However, in 1929, the stock market crashed and banks began to fail. Some historians blame the crash on a lack of foresight in President Coolidge, pointing out that his Secretary of the Treasury was the third-richest man in the country and would not be the least bit impacted by any economic decline. Whatever the reason for the crash, federal mismanagement would turn the recession in to something far worse.


The Great Depression, reform, and recovery

The Federal Reserve Board chose to stand by, leaving interest rates high and not shoring up banks, while Congress expanded government in an effort to alleviate the recession. There was a sharp drop in the money supply, which would amount to a one-third reduction by 1933. President Herbert Hoover passed a massive tax increase to boost sagging federal revenues, and caved in to special interests for the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff. The US economy plunged into depression. By 1932, the unemployment rate was 23.6%, and worker militancy was rising, including the Bonus march on Washington, DC, where the US Army was called out to violently suppress a demonstration by World War I veterans for an earlier distribution of veteran benefits ("bonuses").


Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President of the United States later that year, as well as a slate of Democratic "New Dealers". If one defines economic health entirely by the gross domestic product, the US had gotten back on track by 1934, and made a full recovery by 1936, but much of the nation remained steeped in poverty. By the early 1940s, the United States had managed to pull itself strongly out of the Depression, largely due to World War II, but there is an ongoing, politically charged debate on whether Franklin Roosevelt's social-democratic policies had anything to do with this, and some argue that Roosevelt's policies hampered recovery, or even made the problem worse than it would have been. Recovery was also, in part, at least, due to the natural resilience of the economy; the Great Depression was the sixth depression in U.S. history. Wall Street enjoyed the longest bull run in history in this post-war period, as the stock market climbed almost uninterrupted from 1949 to 1957. The US government involvement in social welfare and what Dwight Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex" continues to this day.


"A chicken in every pot"

The end of World War II to the late 1960s was a golden era of American capitalism. President Kennedy passed the largest tax cut in history upon entering office in 1961. $200,000,000,000 in war bonds matured, and the G.I. Bill caused a well-educated work force. The middle class swelled, as did GDP and productivity. The US underwent a kind of golden age of economic growth. This growth was distributed fairly evenly across the economic classes, which some attribute to the strength of labour unions in this period - labour union membership peaked historically in the US during the 1950s, in the midst of this massive economic growth. The US government financed much of private industry's research and development throughout these decades, such as the space program, and the military began funding R&D of what would become the Internet in the late 1960s. In 1968 and 1969, productivity growth climbed near the levels it had reached earlier in the decade, but this would not last.


Stagflation

In the late 1960s it was apparent to some that this juggernaut of economic growth was slowing down, and it began to become visibly apparent in the early 1970s. Stagflation gripped the nation, and the government experimented with wage and price controls under President Richard Nixon. President Gerald Ford introduced the slogan, "Whip Inflation Now" (WIN). In 1974, productivity shrunk by 1.5%, though this soon recovered. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won the Presidency. Carter would later take much of the blame for the even more turbulent economic times to come, though some say circumstances were outside his control. Inflation continued to climb skyward. The United States developed a trade deficit. Productivity growth was pitiful, when not negative. Yet, interest rates remained high. According to a Gallup Organization poll, Carter ended his term with a low 28% approval rating. Carter is still typically ranked low among presidents, though in a 2002 Zogby poll, a third of respondents called Carter "great" or "near great" and only 18% considered him a failure. This approval rating is slightly higher than when he left office, and puts him at 9th of the last 12 presidents, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to George W. Bush. A C-SPAN survey of historians ranked Carter at 33rd of 41 presidents in the category of economic management; a C-SPAN survey of viewers ranked Carter at dead last.


One positive aspect of the period is that unemployment dropped mostly steadily from 1975 to 1979, although it then began to rise sharply.


This period also saw the increased rise of the environmental and consumer movements, and the government established new regulations and regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and others.


Reaganomics

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President by a landslide, and immediately began a series of tax cuts. The so-called "Reagan Revolution" marked reduced taxes and deregulation, and the first reduction of the public sector's share of the economy in 40 years (excepting spending spikes during the world wars). Inflation dropped dramatically from 13.5% annually in 1980 to just 3% annually in 1983, and real GDP growth began to grow at an unprecedented rate. The unemployment rate continued to rise to a peak of 10.8% in late 1982, but then dropped as sharply as it had risen to a level of 5.4% at the end of Reagan's presidency in January 1989. Critics of the Reagan Administration often point to the fact that the federal debt reached record levels, nearly tripling from $1 trillion in 1981 to $2.8 trillion in 1989 (of course, the debt regularly reaches record levels as the debt has not been reduced over the course of a Presidency since Calvin Coolidge was in office, and has not been reduced at all, minus day-to-day fluctuations, since Eisenhower, but it grew faster than it previously had). Reagan's Vice President of 8 years, George H. W. Bush, easily won election in 1988. The early Bush Presidency was essentially a continuation of Reagan's policies, but in the early 1990s, Bush let down many Reagan supporters by agreeing to a tax increase in a compromise with Congressional Democrats. Bush ended his Presidency on a moderate note, signing regulatory bills like the Americans With Disabilities Act and a law mandating that toilets use low amounts of water, as NAFTA (more formally, "the NAFTA") came into effect. In 1992, Bush and Ross Perot lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.


The Tech Bubble

Over his term, Clinton would raise taxes to their highest level in history while passing welfare reform in an effort to reduce the number of people dependent on government, as money taken from Social Security funds gave the appearance of a budget surplus towards the end of his term. With Republicans in control of Congress starting in 1994, most major spending programs were opposed by one side or the other, and spending increases stayed relatively low. However, the overall effect of government policy is disputed, as the 1990s would see a significant boost in the software and "dotcom" industries.


One should take note that during this period, government statistical formulas were changed to produce happier results, and government statistics should be considered carefully before being accepted.


After several decades of US taxpayer financing of research and development of the Internet, the Internet project was opened up for commercial traffic on its backbone in 1994. The years 1994 - 2000 witnessed solid increases in real output, low inflation rates, and a drop in unemployment to below 5%. The year 2000 witnessed the end of the boom psychology and performance, with a growth rate of only 1.4% in the last three months. The situation worsened in 2001 with output increasing only 0.3% and unemployment and business failures rising substantially. The response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. Since those attacks, the economy continued to grow, albeit at an uneven pace. More recently, economic growth has sped up, with growth in the third quarter of 2004 reaching 4% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.


Basic ingredients of the U.S. economy

The first ingredient of a nation's economic system is its natural resources. The United States is rich in mineral resources and fertile farm soil, and it is blessed with a moderate climate. It also has extensive coastlines on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as on the Gulf of Mexico. Rivers flow from far within the continent, and the Great Lakes -- five large, inland lakes along the U.S. border with Canada -- provide additional shipping access. These extensive waterways have helped shape the country's economic growth over the years and helped bind America's 50 individual states together in a single economic unit.


The second ingredient is labour, which converts natural resources into goods. The number of available workers and, more importantly, their productivity help determine the health of an economy. Throughout its history, the United States has experienced steady growth in the labour force, and that, in turn, has helped fuel almost constant economic expansion. Until shortly after World War I, most workers were immigrants from Europe, their immediate descendants, or African Americans whose ancestors were brought to the Americas as slaves. In the early years of the 20th century, large numbers of Asians immigrated to the United States, while many Latin American immigrants came in later years.


Although the United States has experienced some periods of high unemployment and other times when labour was in short supply, immigrants tended to come when jobs were plentiful. Often willing to work for somewhat lower wages than acculturated workers, they generally prospered, earning far more than they would have in their native lands. The nation prospered as well, so that the economy grew fast enough to absorb even more newcomers.


The quality of available labour -- how hard people are willing to work and how skilled they are -- is at least as important to a country's economic success as the number of workers. In the early days of the United States, frontier life required hard work, and what is known as the Protestant work ethic reinforced that trait. A strong emphasis on education, including technical and vocational training, also contributed to America's economic success, as did a willingness to experiment and to change.


Labour mobility has likewise been important to the capacity of the American economy to adapt to changing conditions. When immigrants flooded labour markets on the East Coast, many workers moved inland, often to farmland waiting to be tilled. Similarly, economic opportunities in industrial, northern cities attracted black Americans from southern farms in the first half of the 20th century.


Labour-force quality continues to be an important issue. Today, Americans consider "human capital" a key to success in numerous modern, high-technology industries. As a result, government leaders and business officials increasingly stress the importance of education and training to develop workers with the kind of nimble minds and adaptable skills needed in new industries such as computers and telecommunications.


But natural resources and labour account for only part of an economic system. These resources must be organized and directed as efficiently as possible. In the American economy, managers, responding to signals from markets, perform this function. The traditional managerial structure in America is based on a top-down chain of command; authority flows from the chief executive in the boardroom, who makes sure that the entire business runs smoothly and efficiently, through various lower levels of management responsible for coordinating different parts of the enterprise, down to the foreman on the shop floor. Numerous tasks are divided among different divisions and workers. In early 20th-century America, this specialization, or division of labour, was said to reflect "scientific management" based on systematic analysis.


Many enterprises continue to operate with this traditional structure, but others have taken changing views on management. Facing heightened global competition, American businesses are seeking more flexible organization structures, especially in high-technology industries that employ skilled workers and must develop, modify, and even customize products rapidly. Excessive hierarchy and division of labour increasingly are thought to inhibit creativity. As a result, many companies have "flattened" their organizational structures, reduced the number of managers, and delegated more authority to interdisciplinary teams of workers.


Before managers or teams of workers can produce anything, of course, they must be organized into business ventures. In the United States, the corporation has proved to be an effective device for accumulating the funds needed to launch a new business or to expand an existing one. The corporation is a voluntary association of owners, known as stockholders, who form a business enterprise governed by a complex set of rules and customs.


Corporations must have financial resources to acquire the resources they need to produce goods or services. They raise the necessary capital largely by selling stocks (ownership shares in their assets) or bonds (long-term loans of money) to insurance companies, banks, pension funds, individuals, and other investors. Some institutions, especially banks, also lend money directly to corporations or other business enterprises. Federal and state governments have developed detailed rules and regulations to ensure the safety and soundness of this financial system and to foster the free flow of information so investors can make well-informed decisions.


The gross domestic product measures the total output of goods and services in a given year. In the United States it has been growing steadily, rising from more than $3.4 trillion (3.4 T$) in 1983 to around 8.5 T$ by 1998. But while these figures help measure the economy's health, they do not gauge every aspect of national well-being. GDP shows the market value of the goods and services an economy produces, but it does not weigh a nation's quality of life. And some important variables -- personal happiness and security, for instance, or a clean environment and good health -- are entirely beyond its scope.


A mixed economy: the role of the market

The United States is said to have a mixed economy because privately owned businesses and government both play important roles. Indeed, some of the most enduring debates of American economic history focus on the relative roles of the public and private sectors.


The American free enterprise system emphasizes private ownership. Private businesses produce most goods and services, and almost two-thirds of the nation's total economic output goes to individuals for personal use (the remaining one-third is bought by government and business). The consumer role is so great, in fact, that the nation is sometimes characterized as having a "consumer economy."


However, like in all modern economies, there are limits to free enterprise and private ownership. Americans generally agree that some services are better performed by public rather than private enterprise. For instance, in the United States, government is primarily responsible for the administration of justice, education (although there are many private schools and training centers), the road system, social statistical reporting, and national defence. In addition, government often is asked to intervene in the economy to correct situations in which the price system does not work. It regulates "natural monopolies," for example, and it uses antitrust laws to control or break up other business combinations that become so powerful that they can surmount market forces.


Government also addresses issues beyond the reach of market forces. It provides welfare and unemployment benefits to people who cannot or will not support themselves, either because they encounter problems in their personal lives or lose their jobs as a result of economic upheaval; it pays much of the cost of medical care for the aged and those who live in poverty; it regulates private industry to limit air and water pollution; it provides low-cost loans to people who suffer losses as a result of natural disasters; and it has played the leading role in the exploration of space, which is too expensive for any private enterprise to handle. All of this is paid for by a system of progressive taxation.


In this mixed economy, individuals can help guide the economy not only through the choices they make as consumers but through the votes they cast for officials who shape economic policy. In recent years, consumers have voiced concerns about product safety, environmental threats posed by certain industrial practices, and potential health risks citizens may face; government has responded by creating agencies which aim to protect consumer interests and promote the general public welfare.


The U.S. economy has changed in other ways as well. The population and the labour force have shifted dramatically away from farms to cities, from fields to factories, and, above all, to service industries. In today's economy, the providers of personal and public services far outnumber producers of agricultural and manufactured goods. As the economy has grown more complex, statistics also reveal over the last century a sharp long-term trend away from self-employment toward working for others.


Government's role in the economy

While consumers and producers make most decisions that mold the economy, government activities have a powerful effect on the U.S. economy in at least four areas. Strong government regulation in the U.S. economy started in the early 1900s; before that date, it was a nearly pure free market economy.


Stabilization and growth

Perhaps most importantly, the federal government guides the overall pace of economic activity, attempting to maintain steady growth, high levels of employment, and price stability. By adjusting spending and tax rates (fiscal policy) or managing the money supply and controlling the use of credit (monetary policy), it can slow down or speed up the economy's rate of growth -- in the process, affecting the level of prices and employment.


For many years following the Great Depression of the 1930s, recessions -- periods of slow economic growth and high unemployment -- were viewed as the greatest of economic threats. When the danger of recession appeared most serious, government sought to strengthen the economy by spending heavily itself or cutting taxes so that consumers would spend more, and by fostering rapid growth in the money supply, which also encouraged more spending. In the 1970s, major price increases, particularly for energy, created a strong fear of inflation -- increases in the overall level of prices. As a result, government leaders came to concentrate more on controlling inflation than on combating recession by limiting spending, resisting tax cuts, and reining in growth in the money supply.


Ideas about the best tools for stabilizing the economy changed substantially between the 1960s and the 1990s. In the 1960s, government had great faith in fiscal policy -- manipulation of government revenues to influence the economy. Since spending and taxes are controlled by the president and the U.S. Congress, these elected officials played a leading role in directing the economy. A period of high inflation, high unemployment, and huge government deficits weakened confidence in fiscal policy as a tool for regulating the overall pace of economic activity. Instead, monetary policy -- controlling the nation's money supply through such devices as interest rates -- assumed growing prominence. Monetary policy is directed by the nation's central bank, known as the Federal Reserve Board, with considerable independence from the president and the Congress.


Regulation and control

The U.S. federal government regulates private enterprise in numerous ways. Regulation falls into two general categories. Economic regulation seeks, either directly or indirectly, to control prices. Traditionally, the government has sought to prevent monopolies such as electric utilities from raising prices beyond the level that would ensure them reasonable profits. At times, the government has extended economic control to other kinds of industries as well. In the years following the Great Depression, it devised a complex system to stabilize prices for agricultural goods, which tend to fluctuate wildly in response to rapidly changing supply and demand. A number of other industries -- trucking and, later, airlines -- successfully sought regulation themselves to limit what they considered harmful price-cutting.


Another form of economic regulation, antitrust law, seeks to strengthen market forces so that direct regulation is unnecessary. The government -- and, sometimes, private parties -- have used antitrust law to prohibit practices or mergers that would unduly limit competition.


Since the 1970's, government has also exercised control over private companies to achieve social goals, such as protecting the public's health and safety or maintaining a clean and healthy environment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tightly regulates what drugs may reach the market, for example; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration protects workers from hazards they may encounter in their jobs; and the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to control water and air pollution.


Such agencies draw heavy criticism from conservatives, who question the agencies' efficiency and neccessity.


American attitudes about regulation changed substantially during the final three decades of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1970s, policy-makers grew increasingly concerned that economic regulation protected inefficient companies at the expense of consumers in industries such as airlines and trucking. At the same time, technological changes spawned new competitors in some industries, such as telecommunications, that once were considered natural monopolies. Both developments led to a succession of laws easing regulation.


While leaders of both political parties generally favoured economic deregulation during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, there was less agreement concerning regulations designed to achieve social goals. Social regulation had assumed growing importance in the years following the Depression and World War II, and again in the 1960s and 1970s. But during the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, the government relaxed rules intended to protect workers, consumers, and the environment, arguing that regulation interfered with free enterprise, increased the costs of doing business, and thus contributed to inflation. Still, many Americans continued to voice concerns about specific events or trends, prompting the government to issue new regulations in some areas, including environmental protection. As of March 2004, it is estimated that compliance with government regulation costs the U.S. economy $1.3 trillion a year. [6] (http://mwhodges.home.att.net/regulation_a.htm)


Some citizens, meanwhile, have turned to the courts when they feel their elected officials are not addressing certain issues quickly or strongly enough. For instance, in the 1990s, individuals, and eventually government itself, sued tobacco companies over the health risks of cigarette smoking. A large financial settlement provided states with long-term payments to cover medical costs to treat smoking-related illnesses. The money is mostly spent (or will be spent, as checks are often written in anticipation of payments) for other purposes.


Direct services

Each level of government provides many direct services. The federal government, for example, is responsible for national defence, backs research that often leads to the development of new products, conducts space exploration, and runs numerous programs designed to help workers develop workplace skills and find jobs. Government spending has a significant effect on local and regional economies -- and even on the overall pace of economic activity.


State governments, meanwhile, are responsible for the construction and maintenance of most highways. State, county, or city governments play the leading role in financing and operating public schools. Local governments are primarily responsible for police and fire protection. Government spending in each of these areas can also affect local and regional economies, although federal decisions generally have the greatest economic impact.


Overall, federal, state, and local spending accounted for almost 18 percent of gross domestic product in 1997.


Direct assistance

Government also provides many kinds of help to businesses and individuals. It offers low-interest loans and technical assistance to small businesses, and it provides loans to help students attend college. Government-sponsored enterprises buy home mortgages from lenders and turn them into securities that can be bought and sold by investors, thereby encouraging home lending. Government also actively promotes exports and seeks to prevent foreign countries from maintaining trade barriers that restrict imports.


Government supports individuals who cannot adequately care for themselves. Social Security, which is financed by a tax on employers and employees, accounts for the largest portion of Americans' retirement income. The Medicare program pays for many of the medical costs of the elderly. The Medicaid program finances medical care for low-income families. In many states, government maintains institutions for the mentally ill or people with severe disabilities. The federal government provides food stamps to help poor families obtain food, and the federal and state governments jointly provide welfare grants to support low-income parents with children.


Many of these programs, including Social Security, trace their roots to the "New Deal" programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served as the U.S. president from 1933 to 1945. Key to Roosevelt's reforms was a belief that poverty usually resulted from social and economic causes rather than from failed personal morals. This view repudiated a common notion whose roots lay in New England Puritanism that success was a sign of God's favour and failure a sign of God's displeasure. This was an important transformation in American social and economic thought. Even today, however, echoes of the older notions are still heard in debates around certain issues, especially welfare.


Many other assistance programs for individuals and families, including Medicare and Medicaid, were begun in the 1960s during President Lyndon Johnson's (1963-1969) "War on Poverty." Although some of these programs encountered financial difficulties in the 1990s and various reforms were proposed, they continued to have strong support from both of the United States' major political parties. Critics argued, however, that providing welfare to unemployed but healthy individuals actually created dependency rather than solving problems. Welfare reform legislation enacted in 1996 under President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) requires people to work as a condition of receiving benefits and imposes limits on how long individuals may receive payments.


Other statistics

Industrial production growth rate: -4%


Electricity - production: 3,799,944 GWh (2000)


Electricity - production by source: (2000)

  • fossil fuel: 71.4%
  • hydro: 5.6%
  • nuclear: 20.7%
  • other: 2.3%

Electricity - consumption: 3,602,000 GWh (2001)


Electricity - exports: 18,170 GWh (2001)


Electricity - imports: 38,480 GWh (2001)


Agriculture - products: wheat, other grains, corn, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; forest products; fish


Exports - commodities: capital goods, automobiles, industrial supplies and raw materials, consumer goods, agricultural products


Imports - commodities: crude oil and refined petroleum products, machinery, automobiles, consumer goods, industrial raw materials, food and beverages


Historic exchange rates: British pounds per US dollar - 0.6981 (January 2002), 0.6944 (2001), 0.6596 (2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998), 0.6106 (1997); Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.6003 (January 2002), 1.5488 (2001), 1.4851 (2000), 1.4857 (1999), 1.4835 (1998), 1.3846 (1997); French francs per US dollar - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997); Italian lire per US dollar - 1,668.7 (January 1999), 1,763.2 (1998), 1,703.1 (1997); Japanese yen per US dollar - 132.66 (January 2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998), 120.99 (1997); German deutsche marks per US dollar - 1.69 (January 1999), 1.9692 (1998), 1.7341 (1997); euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.08540 (2000), 0.93863 (1999)
note: financial institutions in France, Italy, and Germany and eight other European countries started using the euro on 1 January 1999 with the euro replacing the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002


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Lyndon H LaRouche, US economist and Democratic Party candidate for the 2004 presidential elections, has warned that the beleaguered United States economy would collapse in the near future due to the irrational fiscal and monetary policies being pursued by the Bush Administration even after the Iraq war and the 9/11 attacks.
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