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  • Let's talk about the world's biggest economy

  • because it affects just about everyone

  • Depending on what you read

  • the US economy is well on the way to recovery

  • after the crisis caused by COVID-19.

  • The whole world is trying to get back on track.

  • But how long that will take

  • depends a lot on the Americans.

  • So who really created the strong US economy

  • before the pandemic hit?

  • Is the recovery starting to slow?

  • And is inequality getting worsenot better?

  • By some measures China these days

  • is considered the biggest economy in the world.

  • But when you look at the value

  • of all its goods and services

  • the United States is still No. 1.

  • So what is the American economy?

  • It's Silicon Valley

  • Hollywood

  • oil

  • manufacturing

  • finance.

  • It's pretty mixed.

  • The US is also the most important export destination

  • for a fifth of all countries.

  • That's because Americans consume a lot.

  • So much that they're the engine of the US economy.

  • And it all ripples throughout the fabric

  • of the global economy.

  • Another reason the US economy matters to all of us

  • is that the US dollar is the undisputed king of currencies.

  • Most global transactions and trading in things

  • like oil and gold are done in US dollars.

  • It wasn't always that way.

  • Countries used to settle international transactions

  • in gold.

  • But after World War Two

  • countries needed more flexibility

  • to rebuild their economies

  • and chose to peg their currencies to the dollar.

  • That's because the US had the most gold at the time.

  • A strong dollar can be good or bad

  • depending on who you are.

  • Japan needs the dollar to be stronger against the yen

  • so American consumers can afford

  • more Japanese products.

  • But a country like Turkey would rather a weaker

  • US currency because banks and businesses there

  • hold a lot of debt in dollars.

  • In other countries a strong dollar can fuel inflation.

  • In Argentina that pushes up prices for basic things

  • like food.

  • And in the US a strong greenback

  • makes imported goods cheaper

  • but it can harm US manufacturers by making

  • their goods more expensive abroad.

  • Overall, though, the dollar is largely seen

  • as a safe currency.

  • During the pandemic it actually rose.

  • Lately the US dollar has gone up and down.

  • That has to do with all sorts of things.

  • Even a tweet from President Trump

  • can help or hurt the exchange rate.

  • But a lot rides on how the US economy performs.

  • So how is it doing?

  • Economies are measured using GDP

  • which is the total value of goods and services

  • produced in that country over a period of time.

  • And you can see that over the last 10 years

  • the US economy has been growing.

  • Last year GDP rose by just over 2%.

  • But it took a while to get there.

  • Like the rest of the world the US economy was devastated

  • by the financial crisis in 2008.

  • President George W Bush started the clean-up

  • shoring up banks and rescuing US companies.

  • The Federal Reserve also played a massive role

  • buying bonds and keeping interest rates low.

  • And all that continued under President Barack Obama.

  • Congress spent hundreds of billions of dollars

  • on things like social security and tax relief.

  • By 2009 the US had started

  • its longest economic expansion on record.

  • Then President Donald Trump stepped in.

  • The economy did keep growing.

  • But the 4-to-6% boost he promised

  • well, that didn't happen.

  • Trump added his own touch.

  • He cut regulations to make doing business easier

  • and got Congress to pass tax cuts

  • for American workers and corporations.

  • The promise, there, was to help businesses

  • reinvest money to create jobs.

  • But it didn't always work that way.

  • A lot of those companies used those tax savings

  • to buy back stocks and boost their value instead.

  • Then there's Trump's trade policy of putting America first.

  • He ripped up international trade deals

  • saying they were unfair and hurt American manufacturing.

  • And that led to a trade war.

  • The US slapped penalties on hundreds of billions

  • of dollars' worth of Chinese goods.

  • China responded with their own.

  • China also found ways around some of those tariffs.

  • The main thing about Trump's tenure was

  • that the American public started to feel

  • a whole lot better about the economy.

  • And that had an important effect.

  • So the economy was in good shape

  • and the US jobs market was on fire.

  • Then COVID-19 came along and pushed the economy

  • off a cliff.

  • The US economy slid 5% in the first quarter.

  • when it officially fell into recession.

  • then in the second quarter it nosedived

  • at a record annual rate of more than 30%.

  • The pandemic still isn't over.

  • But the focus now is on the economic recovery.

  • In the third quarter of 2020

  • the economy bounced back a record 33%.

  • The Federal Reserve helped by unleashing a range of

  • measures to keep credit flowing to

  • businesses and households.

  • Like cutting interest rates to make borrowing cheaper.

  • Congress also allocated trillions of dollars in aid

  • to keep workers and businesses afloat

  • and jumpstart growth.

  • That's a lot of money.

  • The stock market also came roaring back.

  • One reason was that tech companies benefited from

  • the shift to people working and learning

  • from home.

  • You know what else is up?

  • House prices.

  • Mortgage rates are at a record low

  • so people who own shares or homesthey're doing OK

  • But what about the rest?

  • Well, some economists are saying this is the most

  • unequal recovery in American history.

  • We also know that economic recovery

  • is starting to slow down.

  • COVID-19 is still spreading

  • some of that financial help we talked about has expired

  • and Republicans and Democrats in Congress

  • can't agree on the next aid package.

  • Getting the US economy back to its

  • pre-pandemic strength could take years.

  • And how long the virus sticks around

  • will make a difference.

  • will make a difference.

  • It's like an ecosystem.

  • And on that basis the US needs to do well

  • for all of us to turn the corner.

  • If you want to get a better understanding of the

  • stories in the news

  • you can find all of our episodes on YouTube.

  • Just look for Start Here.

  • You can also find us on Al Jazeera's Facebook page

  • and on our website aljazeera.com.

  • Make sure to subscribe wherever you're watching

  • and we'll see you next week.

Let's talk about the world's biggest economy

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B1 中級 美國腔

美國經濟(Why does the US economy matter? | Start Here)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 10 月 11 日
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