You know you live in a banana republic when....other banana republics taunt you for your debt problems. Reuters:
"When did the American dream become a nightmare?" gloated Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, whose own country defaulted on about $100 billion in debt a decade ago.
In a speech at the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on Monday, she contended that Argentina had prospered since then by focusing on exports and controlling financial speculation -- a lesson that Washington has yet to learn, she said.
The Americans "thought that money just reproduces by itself, and only in the financial sector, without having to produce any goods or services," Fernandez said.
Washington's biggest critics in the region, such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales, have also portrayed the crisis as an inevitable outcome for a country that failed to follow its own financial advice and overextended itself militarily -- in Latin America, and elsewhere.
"If they didn't spend money on military bases and keeping troops in other parts of the world, I think the United States could easily resolve its financial crisis," Morales said last week, according to state news agency ABI.
News flash: We are now in hock to...Brazil. That's right, Brazil is the fourth largest sovereign creditor of the US, holding more than $200 billion in Treasuries.
But perhaps most humiliating of all, is this:
These days, Latin America's economy as a whole is expected to expand about 4.7 percent in 2011 -- almost twice the expected rate in the United States -- thanks to strong demand for the region's commodities and a decade of mostly prudent fiscal management, itself the product of many hard-learned lessons of the past.
When the socialist economies of Latin America can run rings around the US, the world has truly turned upside down.