There have been many news stories about the weak dollar and Alan Greenspan’s concern about deflation, unemployment, etc. Deflation could lead to a depression like that in the ’30s.

To anyone with a sense of history, the Bush administration’s decision to bless a cheaper dollar must seem disquieting.

It may be defensible as economic policy or simply acceptance of the inevitable. After all, U.S. trade deficits (now roughly $500 billion annually) have flooded the world with so many dollars that a sizable currency decline was, at some point, likely. But the cheaper dollar, by making U.S. exports more price competitive and hurting other countries’ exports, raises the unsettling specter of “beggar thy neighbor” policies.

OK. “Beggar thy neighbor” is a mouthful. In plain language, it means that countries protect their own industries through cheaper currencies, trade barriers, subsidies and regulatory preferences at the expense of other countries.

It’s not free trade; it’s political trade.

In the 1930s this sort of economic nationalism arguably contributed to World War II by weakening opposition to Germany. Countries don’t easily cooperate when they are blaming each other for their economic problems.

Halliburton is being investigated for stock fraud, yet the Bush administration just awarded – by fiat – a lucrative contract to rebuild the Iraq our bombs demolished.

Sen. Snowe seems to be the only senator courageous enough to stand up and be counted. Reps. Michaud and Allen, also.

Joanna Walsh-Ward, Lewiston

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.