Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slouching towards Zimbabwe.

Despite the skeptics, the US Federal Reserve and Treasury and Congress and the White House have successfully reflated our bubble economy. There's near unanimous agreement that we've turned the corner. Corporate earnings are soaring, consumers are spending money they don't have, stocks are hitting new highs every day, many of them all time highs. This is the definition of a boom period.

The deflationists swore that it couldn't happen, that human animal spirits were crushed. They were stolid as Congress threw unprecedented hundreds of billions of deficit spending at favored constituencies. They were unmoved by Treasury bailouts of entire swaths of the financial system. They were oblivious when Fannie and Freddie practically nationalized the US housing market. They were unfazed when Ben Bernanke injected nearly 2 trillion newly printed dollars into our economy, like a high powered enema forcefully delivered through our too-big-to-fail banking portal. But they were wrong.

Despite our belief in modern man as a creature of reason and forethought, humans generally survive the way we always have. We take advantage of the opportunities of the moment, because tomorrow brings no guarantees. We do things the way we learned and we don't change until change is forced upon us. If Congress gives us money to spend, we'll spend it on trinkets and gadgets. If Fannie Mae lets us live in our homes without paying the mortgage, we'll continue to go on vacations and act as if nothing has changed. If Bernanke gives away unlimited free money to investment bankers and traders, they'll use it to drive markets until they pull in the suckers looking for more than the pittance available in the money markets.

People don't fear debt until they've experienced privation from too much debt. We don't fear easy money until it becomes worthless. Lives are too short and global changes take too long to manifest. Most of the time it's more productive to ignore broad problems and carry on as before. Politicians know these things, they use our inertia to their advantage. Thus, they ignore the widening gyre of our economic cycles as they loose another blood-dimmed tide of fiscal and monetary recklessness upon America.

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