The close links in global trade are evidenced in the CAFTA debate. One argument put forth by opponents of CAFTA is that the Bush administration needs to take a harder line with China on its monetary policy before the White House will get any cooperation on CAFTA. They claim China's policy of pegging its foreign exchange rate to the dollar is responsible for the huge Chinese trade surplus with the U.S.
On the homefront this week, the government took another crack at providing healthy eating standards to the public. The latest effort, a long-awaited revamp of the famous food pyramid, was prompted by the growing concern over America's losing the "battle of the bulge."
You can't win for losing ... literally, when it comes to the health benefits of weight control. A new analysis reported by the Centers for Disease Control found that people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.
In addition, the CDC has "downgraded" obesity from number 2 to number 7 in the nation's leading preventable causes of death.
This report came out on the heels of the USDA's unveiling of a new personalized version of the food pyramid designed to help American shed some superfluous pounds.
Through animation, the USDA illustrates they are tipping the 1992 version of the food pyramid on its side so all the food group bands run vertically. And there is no longer just one pyramid, but twelve ... and individuals can tailor a pyramid to fit their lifestyle and eating habits.
Mike Johanns, Secretary of Agriculture: "It became clear we needed to do a better job of communicating the nutrition messages so that Americans could understand how to begin making positive changes in their lifestyles. MyPyramid is a system of information to help consumers understand how to put nutrition recommendations into action."
To help consumers move "into action", the USDA recommends visiting their Web site and filling out the "MyPyramid Plan" ... which asks for age, gender and amount of time spent exercising. Hit submit and wait for the results.
The new pyramid plan took four years to develop ... at a cost of $2.4 million.