WSJ Picks Up the Pom-Poms and Drops the Ball

In the Hutong
Listening to trance
1217 hrs.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal ran a laudatory article about U.S. SecTreas Hank Paulson, whom they are crediting for singlehandedly preventing a US-China blowup.

Whether the Secretary deserves sole credit for that effort or not is a matter of debate.

What IS clear is that The Wall Street Journal is getting a little lax on checking its facts:

So has China “cheated” in the trade arena by holding the yuan artificially low relative to the dollar? The yuan has been pegged at 7.92 against the dollar since the mid-1990s, and Beijing has begun to allow a modest fluctuation in the last year or so.

Um, no. I think they’re confusing Hong Kong and China. Just to clarify: the Hong Kong dollar has been pegged at around 7.7 to the US dollar since the mid-1990s, and the Chinese Yuan spent most of the past decade somewhere in the general neighborhood of 8.3 to the U.S. dollar (officialy, of course. The last half of the 1990s saw a burgeoning black market in dollars that pushed the actual exchange rate to 9.5 to the dollar on the streets of Beijing.) The Renminbi has already been allowed to depreciate 5% against the dollar, and IMHO Paulson’s predecessor gets whatever credit goes to the U.S. Department of Treasury for that, not Hank.

Gotta watch it guys. This kind of thing can blow the credibility of an important Op/Ed.