Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sign of the times

By Capt. Fogg

The stories of foreigners right off the boat being sold shares in the Brooklyn Bridge are as old as the bridge itself, but the people buying up New York aren't immigrants any more.

Of course we all remember when we joked about Japan buying the United States. When Mitsubishi Estate Co. bought Rockefeller Center in the late 80's, you could hear the groans of doom and jokes on late-night TV about Ronald Reagan, the skyscraper salesman. Of course their economic bubble popped like a balloon flown much too high, and properties like that wound up in default, but now a new section of the world is buying up American trophy real estate now and their long term prospects may be better.

The Chrysler building may retain it's name, but a 75% share of it is now owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council who grabbed it for only $800 million on Tuesday. This follows the sale of the General Motors Building on New York's 5th Avenue for $2.8 billion last month. It's not just real estate either; Abu Dhabi just bought 7 and a half billion dollars of Citigroup, for example. So it is with George Bush's "ownership society." Did anyone think we were supposed to be the owners?

While growing numbers of Americans are struggling to keep their homes, some countries are so overloaded with dollars, they're desperate to get rid of them where and while the dollar is still worth something -- and that's right here.

Will there come a time when all the United States has to brag about is its nuclear arsenal? Will we have only the threat of violence to give us international status, will there be only fear and contempt where once there was respect?

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