Money: When Plus Is Minus

Can any enterprise show a deficit and a surplus at the same time? The U.S. Government seems to think it can. Reporting on the balance of payments last week, the Department of Commerce announced that on a "liquidity" basis (which includes the amount of dollars owed to all foreigners), the U.S. lost $7 billion in 1969. By the "official reserve transactions" yardstick (which includes only the amount owed to foreign central banks and world financial organizations) the nation gained $2.8 billion. Both deficit and surplus were records.

About $7 billion of the gap between the two measures represented dollars repatriated...

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