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The dethroning of the dollar

Jeff Spross
Illustrated | imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
March 9, 2018
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Is the dollar in danger?

On Thursday, President Trump finally followed through on his BellaVita Rayna Bootie qxfgS8
to impose tariffs on most steel and aluminum imports. He did so, he says, to promote what he characterizes as fairer relationships between the United States and its trading partners. "We've been treated so badly over the years by other countries," Trump said at Thursday's signing ceremony.

But one reason America runs persistent trade deficits is that the U.S. dollar is in high demand. This drives up the value of our currency, making our exports more expensive. And one reason the U.S. dollar is in high demand is that it serves as the world's premiere reserve currency. So to get the sort of trade relationships Trump wants, the U.S. dollar might have to be kicked from its throne.

How could that happen?

There are a few possible ways, says Barry Eichengreen, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley and co-author of a book on the topic.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s unpack what a reserve currency means. Basically, whenever two countries trade goods and services, they inevitably trade currencies. But no country controls any currency but their own. That makes it useful to stockpile (i.e. reserve) other currencies for a rainy day (e.g. a financial shock rattles markets or an unforeseen trade crisis strikes).

In theory, everyone should trade in a whole bunch of different currencies. But thanks to many historical factors, most countries just trade with each other using U.S. dollars. Thus, they stockpile dollars, too. As of 2017, almost 64 percent of all foreign exchange reserves were American currency. The euro was in second place at a mere 20 percent. The Japanese yen was way back in third, with less than 5 percent. China's renminbi was just 1.1 percent.

"We talk about the secret sauce that makes for an international currency, with four ingredients," Eichengreen told The Week . "Size, stability, security, and liquidity."

Right now, there's no obvious contender for replacing the U.S. dollar.

Japan, for instance, probably lacks both the sheer scale of GDP and the political or military reach necessary to serve as a reserve currency. And neither of those things will change soon.

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Late Monday evening, the row came to an end, with the two parties coming to a "clear agreement" on how to handle the topic of migration.

Horst Seehofer, interior minister and the head of a political party long allied to Chancellor Angela Merkel's, threatened to resign on Sunday. But, on Monday evening, he backed down saying he would keep his post now that he had made a deal with the chancellor on how to handle asylum-seekers arriving in Germany from the Austrian border.

Speaking to reporters, the chancellor said they had found a good compromise after "a hard struggle."

On Sunday night, Seehofer said Merkel’s EU-wide plan, hashed out in a meeting of European leaders last week, was as in his words, “insufficient.” The two-day summit in Brussels resulted in leaders agreeing on measures that would make it more difficult for migrants to reach the European Union.

Merkel and Seehofer, whose Christian Social Union party is based in Bavaria, have sparred over migration policy since 2015. The latest feud was seen by many as an attempt to strong-arm the chancellor into a stricter asylum policy.

The new agreement promises "transit centers" on the German-Austrian border, where asylum-seekers who have previously registered in other EU countries will be sent back to those countries.

The recent flare-up came even as the number of asylum-seekers coming to Europe has dipped to pre-2015 levels, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

At the same time, however, Bavaria's state elections in October are on the horizon and will come after Seehofer's party lost votes to a more hard-line party against Kate Spade New York Lasalle fNxwv6
, the anti-Islam Alternative for Germany, in last year’s federal elections.

Seehofer's “master plan” on migration centered around refusing entry to asylum-seekers who have previously registered in other EU countries, a move that his party likely hoped would win back supporters who turned to the Alternative for Germany. The "transit centers" introduced in the new agreement can be seen as a compromise.

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This debate between the sister parties in Germany’s ruling coalition had been boiling for weeks. Seehofer gave the chancellor until Sunday night to come up with a restrictive migration policy that pleased his party. If his terms weren’t met, he threatened to close the Bavarian border, a move he could enact as interior minister, although it would likely give the chancellor the right to dismiss him from his post.

Leaders and lawmakers in Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union, on Monday afternoon stressed the importance of maintaining the seven-year conservative alliance between their party and Seehoefer's.

Jul 2, 2018

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Sarah Hoeppner, trauma coordinator for Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, demonstrates how to stop bleeding from a gunshot wound or other traumatic injury as part of efforts to encourage people to be prepared to help themselves and others survive in an active shooter situation. Hoeppner provided the demonstration during a training session Friday held at Bethel United Methodist Church in Lima Road. Looking on. at right, is Lauren Quandt, Parkview Health pediatric trauma coordinator. (By Kevin Kilbane of
Don Watson, a district EMS manager with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, discusses what people can do to survive an active shooter situation during a training session for local media, which was offered Friday at Bethel United Methodist Church on Lima Road. (By Kevin Kilbane of

You never think it will happen to you.

You’ve gone to school or a festival, concert venue or shopping mall for years and have never had any concerns. Then, one day, gunshots ring out, and they seem to be getting closer and closer.

Quick thinking and being prepared can make the difference between being a survivor or victim – for you, your family, friends or others, local health and emergency personnel said.

“The reality is it can happen anywhere,” Dr. Deborah McMahan, health commissioner for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, said Friday, referring to the shooting a day earlier that left five people dead in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md.

McMahan was speaking Friday at a previously scheduled information session for media about how to react in an active-shooter situation and how to help stop the bleeding of people who have been wounded.

The goal of the demonstration is to get the information to you — the public — so you can be prepared to save your life or the lives of others.

In addition to the Capital Gazette newsroom, Americans in recent months have experienced mass shootings in schools and at a Las Vegas concert.

Here in Fort Wayne, a man was shot June 15 outside Glenbrook Square mall, which sparked panic based on a false report of an active shooter in the mall.

“We are seeing it all over the world right now — people trying to make their point by hurting other people,” said Don Watson, a district EMS manager with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, who provided the training last week on how to react in a shooter situation.

Here is Watson’s advice, which is based on the recommended response in a shooter situation: Run, Hide, Fight:

• Every business, office, venue or event space should develop a plan for what employees, customers, visitors and others should do if a gunman attacks. They also should practice the plan and make changes needed to make it work better. The plan should include how to assist people with disabilities get to safety.

• Building owners or occupants can install better locks and doors that may help prevent a shooter from getting to people inside.

• When you enter any location, take note of doorways and possible escape routes. If escaping could require going out windows, check for objects on hand that can be used to break out window glass.

• If you see someone or something suspicious, report it to building security or law enforcement immediately.

• If a shooter enters the building or venue, run away if possible.

• If you are unable to flee, look for a place to hide. While hiding, scan the room or space for items you can use to protect yourself or use as a weapon against the shooter, if necessary.

Chairs and desks, for example, can be used to barricade a door, while an indoor flag pole can be used as a weapon against the shooter. You also can throw things at the shooter to distract him or her.

• Turn off your cell phone – an incoming call or text can cause your phone to ring or ping, giving away your hiding place. A phone set on vibrate also makes sounds that can alert the shooter to your location.

• If confronted by the shooter, fight back using any weapon you have.

• Once the police arrive, they likely will try to evacuate people, Watson said. Walk out of the building with your hands held up and your fingers spread apart so they can see you don’t have any weapons. Don’t put your hands in your pants pockets or behind your back.

• In an active shooter situation, wait to call 911 until you can do so safely, training information said. In Indiana, you also can text information to 911 if it is unsafe to make a phone call.

• When calling 911 to report an active shooter situation, give police information about where the shooting is taking place, how many shooters are there, what they look like and what types of weapons they have. If possible, you also should provide an estimate of the number of victims.

In a shooter situation and others with traumatic injury, such as a serious traffic accident, sometimes the ability to stop bleeding makes the difference between life and death, Parkview Health trauma staff said.

Here’s what to do:

• Treat yourself first and then try to help others.

• Stuff a wound with gauze or strips of clothing until you begin to feel resistance, which can require stuffing a substantial amount of material down into the wound, said Sarah Hoeppner, Parkview Health trauma coordinator and performance improvement specialist.

• Place more gauze or cloth over the wound and cover it with the heel of one hand. Place your other hand on that hand over the wound and push down hard to apply direct pressure on the wound to reduce or stop the bleeding.

• After stuffing the wound, you also can use your hands to push down and apply direct pressure simultaneously on either side of the wound to reduce bleeding.

• You can use these stop-the-bleeding techniques on yourself or to help someone else, said Lisa Hollister, Parkview Health’s director of trauma and acute-care surgery.

• If applying direct pressure doesn’t stop the bleeding or you are unable to apply direct pressure wrap a tourniquet 2 or 3 inches above the wound and tighten it until the wounded person feels pain, Hollister said. If possible, note the time you start use of the tourniquet so you can notify emergency medical personnel how long it has been in place.

• People should pack one tourniquet for each family member or person in the group and take the tourniquets wherever they go, said Lauren Quandt, Parkview Health pediatric trauma coordinator.

• Parkview Health recommends using the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) brand of tourniquets because they are easier to put on yourself without help, Hollister said.

You also can use a belt, rope, shirt, tie, stocking or other cloth to make a tourniquet, Hollister said.

If you can stop the bleeding at the shooting site, the person has a better chance of staying alive until he or she can be transported to a hospital.

“The key to really stopping the bleeding is surgery,” Hollister said.

• For more about how to stop bleeding in a shooting or other traumatic-injury situation, go to the Stop the Bleed Nina Cabell Dress Sandals 5shbJ

• Free bleeding-control training will be offered at 3 p.m. July 15 at the Poe Community Volunteer Fire Department station at 3619 E. Yoder Road, south of Fort Wayne. People are asked to sign up in advance at this website .

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