Why the Buck Has Pluck

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illustration for TIME by Nilanjan Das

The cost of stemming the financial crisis continues to soar. The U.S. Federal Reserve has already sunk more than $800 billion into the financial system; the Treasury Department is committed to the $700 billion bailout package in addition to the $200 billion being spent to prop up Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; rescuing AIG may cost more than $120 billion. With the already lofty U.S. budget deficit now expected to top $1 trillion next year and recession a virtual certainty, you'd expect America's currency to be taking a beating.

Yet amid the...