Even Europeans are worried about this trend.
A mere seven years ago, you could order an orange juice or milkshake at a cafe in the leafy Athens suburb where I live – and pay, at most, two bucks. No more. Like the three or more million Americans living abroad, many European and Middle Eastern users of Uncle Sam's greenbacks have watched the cost of a single euro rise from 82 cents at the euro's inception a decade ago to around $1.60, before easing a bit to around $1.55.
The US dollar seems to have timidly begun its recovery from its drastic, five-year-long slump against the muscular euro. But what's needed now is strong support to sustain and speed up the dollar's recovery.
Directors of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, responsible for fiscal policy in the entire eurozone, have the ability to help the dollar by lowering the ECB's interest rates. These rates encourage investors to buy or use euros rather than dollars or other currencies. This is a difficult task where old habits die hard and the low dollar means great deals for European tourist shoppers in American cities.
But the euro's previously unchecked rise drew concern last year. Some European financial analysts put part of the blame on the huge US foreign deficit and other current weaknesses of the US economy, as well as on US exports of products like cars which have benefited from the weak dollar.