Washington Extra - Dollar doublespeak

WASHINGTON, April 21 Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:33pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) - Talk of a "strong dollar" is about as American as apple pie. But have you noticed that those precious words are hardly ever uttered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner?

Maybe that is because Geithner's boss, President Barack Obama, doesn't actually want a strong dollar and is aiding and abetting its depreciation. After all, a weak greenback is good for manufacturing exports and therefore good for the recovery and for jobs. Those long-elusive jobs could work wonders for Obama's re-election.

Of course, the powers that be won't be caught advocating for a "weak dollar." That kind of talk would likely trigger an accelerated decline in the currency and unbearable scorn for Obama. Who wants to be known as the "weak dollar president" of the United States? Not him.

So, let the facts speak for themselves. Corporate earnings this week show the rapidly declining dollar is helping U.S. companies sell drugs, chemicals and food to buyers in other countries. As one investor told Reuters today: "Any U.S. multinational corporation is going to benefit from a weaker dollar, which frankly is what has jump-started the recovery." Long live the weak dollar.

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ANALYSIS-Has the US forgotten it has a strong dollar policy?

For years, U.S. Treasury secretaries parroted a line that America was committed to a strong dollar policy. But as the greenback slides close to all-time lows, President Barack Obama's administration has been noticeably quiet. A growing number of investors and currency experts are thinking Washington is passively accepting a gradual decline in the currency, hoping it helps engineer a vigorous enough recovery to get a battered economy in order. [ID:nN21297925]

Obama team to probe energy market manipulation

With gasoline pump prices soaring, the Obama administration unveiled a working group of federal agencies to probe potential fraud in the energy markets. The White House is worried that if gas prices rise above $4 a gallon, the fallout could dominate next year's presidential campaign and drown out President Obama's message of economic recovery. [ID:nN21278883]

Republicans seek to reassure elderly on Medicare

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US economy struggles for momentum, reports show Factory activity in Middle Atlantic states braked sharply in April and the number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell less than expected, implying the economy was struggling to regain momentum. Other data showed steep declines in home prices in February, underscoring the challenges confronting the economy, but the recovery is expected to remain on track. "The economy certainly lost some steam through the first quarter, (but) the underlying health remains sound," said Brian Levitt, an economist for OppenheimerFunds. [ID:nN21185697]

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