Buttle's World

17 November, 2009

Stock Up On Shopping Carts

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 9:42

Because we’re doomed.

2011 and 2012 will be very unpleasant years, as the Obama administration struggles to get closer to budget balance without pushing up taxes so far as to cause yet a third recession. Stock prices will be at or below their March 2009 lows, and will stay there even as earnings of export-oriented companies will be robust. (Conversely, retailers dealing in cheap imported goods, such as Wal-Mart, will be devastated.)  Wages will be generally declining relative to prices, although may show some growth in nominal terms as inflation will be considerable. Foreign goods and services will be inordinately expensive in dollar terms.

The danger in those years will be that Ben Bernanke will attempt yet again to refloat the U.S. economy through inflation, buying government debt to fund the deficit and forcing short term rates well below the inflation rate. This danger is exacerbated by the Obama administration’s insouciance about deficits. Ben Bernanke on his own (and his predecessor Alan Greenspan) bears a large share of responsibility for the 2008 crash, but the Bernanke/Obama combination is potentially even more dangerous. If expansionary monetary and fiscal policies are pursued regardless of market signals, the U.S. will head towards Weimar-style trillion-percent inflation. That would make the government’s position easier as its mountain of Treasury debt became worthless, but devastate everybody else’s savings and impoverish the American people as Weimar impoverished 1920s Germany.

As I said, a train wreck. Probability of arrival: close to 100%. Time of arrival: around the end of 2010, or possibly a bit earlier. And at this stage, there’s very little anyone can do about it; the definitive rise of gold above $1,000 marked the point of no return.

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