Thursday, September 03, 2009

What's In Store, Inflation or Default?

Somewhat scary, but interesting:

Power Line - What's In Store, Inflation or Default?
I've assumed that the profligate spending and borrowing planned by the Democrats in Congress and the White House will run up a debt that we and our children just can't pay, so, in the time-honored tradition of banana republics, the Obama administration or its successors will inflate our currency and repay its creditors (China, mostly) in devalued dollars. Thus, I've been buying gold. I've assumed that an actual default by the United States government is unthinkable.

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, however, disagrees. He writes: Why Default on U.S. Treasuries Is Likely. HIs thesis is that times have changed, and it isn't so easy to inflate our way out of debt:

Many predict that...the government will inflate its way out of this future bind, using Federal Reserve monetary expansion to fill the shortfall between outlays and receipts. But I believe, in contrast, that it is far more likely that the United States will be driven to an outright default on Treasury securities, openly reneging on the interest due on its formal debt and probably repudiating part of the principal.

Hummel explains that most money is now created privately by banks and other institutions, not the government, so that "[o]nly in poor countries, such as Zimbabwe, with their primitive financial sectors, does inflation remain lucrative for governments."

A steep tax increase won't really work for the Obama admi

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