The amazing thing about crashes is that you can see them coming. They’re not surprises like earthquakes or meteor impacts. A sure sign of their approach is too much speculative lending, which contributes to the boom that sets up the bust. We saw it in housing in the 70s and 80s, which led to the S&L crisis, and again in the 00s. We’ve seen it over and over in tech, most famously with the dot-com crash.
Now we’re about to see the U.S. government crash, for the same reason.
According to Bloomberg (which ought to know),
|The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.|
|The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $3.18 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis.|
That’s trillion. With a tr.
Our debtors won’t be able to pay most of it back. Nor do we expect it to be.
And we can’t pay it back, unless we print all the money we need, or do the electronic equivalent.
Which will turn the dollar into the peso. Or worse.
What comes after that — or even during that — I hate to think about.
Or so it seems to me, on a cold Wednesday morning. Hope I’m wrong.
Meanwhile I would like to see more transparency than we’ve seen so far. Lack of it is the other story in the Bloomberg piece. Scary reading.
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