By Giordano Bruno
Normally when I cover subjects in the economy, I try to take a “macro” approach, giving an overall view of various financial elements around the world and how they are clearly connected to one another in a greater synchronous social force. That is to say, in Chinese domestic consumption, or European debt obligations, or Russian gold reserves, and in many other factors, is encoded the very future of our own American economy. Showing others how to decipher that code is my primary mission.
In this instance, however, I would like to focus chiefly on the U.S. Dollar, the private Federal Reserve currency which is now the basis for our entire financial system, not to mention a substantial basis for trade around the globe. For decades, the dollar (and by extension U.S. Treasury bonds) has been the standard by which foreign nations safeguard capital reserves, denominate debt, and in some cases have even pegged their own currency to maintain advantageous trade deficits. In the past, the Greenback has been treated as good as gold. Though many see this as a windfall for Americans, it is actually a very unfortunate circumstance.
The “world reserve” status of our currency created a demand for dollars, but through this, it also created a glut of Treasury bond holdings in foreign central banks, and an unserviceable national debt here at home. The combination of removing the dollar from the gold standard in tandem with gaining world reserve advantage allowed our government along with central bankers to create the most precarious illusory fiat currency in history. Could this process continue indefinitely? Its possible, but only if the demand for dollars continues to rise annually. As long as people want dollars in greater and greater amounts, we could continue to expand our debt into infinity. But what happens if demand for the dollar falls, or disappears entirely? The massive liabilities we have already accrued will no longer have the crutch of perpetual Treasury investment. We no longer would receive the busloads of foreign capital we need to continue functioning. The system we have staked the future of our culture on would disintegrate.
Anyone who uses common sense would easily conclude that it is highly unreasonable if not outlandish to expect that other countries will continue to pump more and more money every year into our very unstable system. Even if Treasury bond investment simply plateaued, remaining steady for years, we would still be crushed under the weight of our debt obligations. As our government expands, and our wars expand, so do our costs, and our interest payments. Eventually, every undisciplined debtor hits a state of critical mass; a point at which he runs out of options in extending his ability to outrun bankruptcy. We are seeing this right now in the U.S., most prominently in municipal debt in states such as California and Illinois. These are not just “local problems”. The growing insolvency in states is a direct reflection of the growing insolvency in the Federal Government.
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