The Current Discussion: If countries around the world are doing so well economically, why are they still catching a cold when the United States sneezes?
They aren't: this metaphor is now entirely wrong. It is America that has a cold, though the Federal Reserve's dramatic interest-rate cut this week suggests that Ben Bernanke thinks it is getting pneumonia rather than just a cold. Since America accounts for 30% of the world economy and is most countries' single biggest trading partner, a slowdown or even recession in America is bound to affect everyone else as well. So while America has a cold, or perhaps pneumonia, everyone else is getting a slight sore throat and a few irritating sniffles. Those symptoms are worse in Europe than in Asia, but they aren't severe yet anywhere outside the United States.
Those symptoms aren't yet actually severe in the U.S. either, by the way. There has been just one month of rising unemployment. There's gloomy talk in Britain, too, yet here unemployment has actually been falling recently. Still, presumably the Fed can see something rather worse ahead for America than has yet been revealed in the economic data.