Will President Bush declare a “state of national economic emergency”?
Today, without further legislation, the President can at the stroke of a pen declare a “state of national economic emergency” of potentially unlimited duration. Once he does so, under existing law and precedent, he may:
Impose a national banking “holiday” closing all U.S. banks or restrict and ration cash withdrawals and the cashing of checks or drafts. President Franklin Roosevelt used this authority in 1933 to closet the U.S. banking system after a run of bank failures.
Shut down all stock and commodity exchanges. President Wilson invoked this authority in 1914 to shut down U.S. financial markets for four months.
Impose punitive taxes on inbound or outbound foreign investments. President Kennedy invoked this authority in 1962 to shrink U.S. capital deficits and support the U.S. dollar.
Investigate, regulate, or prohibit the importing, exporting or holding of currency, securities or precious metals. President Franklin Roosevelt used this authority in 1933 to order the sale of all privately held gold in the United States to the federal government. President Nixon invoked similar authority in 1972 to end the ability of foreign central banks to exchange U.S. dollars for gold.