While the headless chickens in Washington debate-to-the-death over exactly how quickly to bankrupt the United States, giving countless civil servants and federal contractors a serious case of heartburn in the mean time, the other upcoming economic crisis continues apace. You see, we are under two immediate economic threats at the moment, both of which have been brewing for some time.
First, the burgeoning national debt and record-breaking annual deficits—already dangerous under President George W. Bush (R) and greatly accelerated under President Barack Obama (D)—are unsustainable. This is what the politicos are fighting about in the Capitol tonight, although they are debating between two grossly insufficient plans. I have talked that to death elsewhere over the last few weeks.
Second, and possibly more pernicious, is the poor monetary policy of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. Through a constant stream of bailouts, stimulus plans, and ‘quantitative easing,’ the Fed has been injecting billions upon billions of dollars into circulation. The total now stands somewhere over 4 trillion dollars in dollars printed out of thin air under some heretofore unknown economic theory that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has yet to explain to us. Traditional economic theory would indicate that a massive influx of money into an economy will result in the devaluation of that money, but Bernanke and his cronies clearly don’t subscribe to traditional economic theory.
It’s a shame, because there are creeping indications that the traditional, tried-and-true, trustworthy economic theories of old might be, you know, trustworthy. I’ve talked before about how peoples’ real cost of living has been creeping upward, weighed most heavily by skyrocketing food and fuel costs that are artificially excluded from the government’s consumer price indices. Now, surprise of surprises, some foreign debt-holders—particularly those in Asia—are desperately trying to unload U.S. dollars from their portfolios because the dollar is increasingly viewed as ‘toxic.’ In other words, they don’t want to hold on to dollars because they expect the dollar to lose its value.
Hold on, folks. It looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride.