Fire Sale Nation

The weak dollar has drawn hoards of bargain hunters to America, the Associated Press reports:

Many shoppers go to great lengths to find Black Friday bargains, and some are even crossing the ocean this year.

A weak dollar is bringing in overseas visitors looking to take advantage of holiday weekend sales.

The dollar hit a new low against the euro today, while the British pound is valued at more than two dollars.

The CEO of toy store FAO Schwarz estimates foreigners will make up about one-third of customers at its flagship New York location this holiday season.

One European says he may spend $2,000 dollars or more on an American shopping spree. Another Northern Ireland resident says the effect of the weak dollar is, as he puts it, that “everything is half price for us.”

Great. We’re the new Hong Kong.

See also Michael Hirsh, “In the Realm of the Dying Dollar“:

In a blistering essay in the current Vanity Fair, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank economist, notes that Bush took a nation with a budget surplus upon assuming office and turned it into a global debtor, and he has underinvested in education and alternative energy. “In breathtaking disregard for the most basic rules of fiscal propriety, the administration continued to cut taxes even as it undertook expensive new spending programs and embarked on a financially ruinous ‘war of choice’ in Iraq. A budget surplus of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which greeted Bush as he took office, turned into a deficit of 3.6 percent in the space of four years. The United States had not experienced a turnaround of this magnitude since the global crisis of World War II,” Stiglitz writes. “Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle ‘worst president’ when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.”