Wednesday’s news of passage of the “supplementary” TARP II $900 billion stimulus and bailout legislative package in the House of Representatives is noteworthy. The fact that it passed with hardly a whimper is evidence that Congress cannot be trusted to show any fiscal restraint. According to the Wall Street Journal only about 12 cents of every dollar appropriated in that legislation will go for something that can be considered a growth stimulus, yet there was no lengthy or substantive debate on the bill. The floodgates of the Treasury have been opened! The Mother of All Bailouts (MOAB) is now sure to further expand, to heretofore unimagined proportions. Henceforth, each time that there is a new “crisis” or “emergency”, or a “threat” to a vital industry, Uncle Sugar will dump veritable truckloads of magically-created money on the problem. What will be deemed a “vital” industry? Car makers have already been deemed vital. So why not truck and heavy equipment manufacturers? And the steel mills? And the airlines? And the aircraft makers? Ship builders? Why not yacht builders? The newspapers? (“They’re really hurting, so let’s just print more money!) Despite the fact that every Republican congressman voted against it, the bill was passed by the Democratic majority.
The passage of this bill is an ominous sign, and it is a dangerous precedent, especially when we consider the other legislation that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi cabal may have in mind. I suspect that they have plans for a panoply of socialist programs including universal (taxpayer-funded) health coverage, the so-called Fairness Doctrine, expatriation controls, enormous welfare and public works programs, and, of course new civilian disarmament (“gun control”) legislation. Perhaps our only hope on the latter is expansion of the Heller and Lopez Supreme Court precedents, in new court decisions that affirm the Second Amendment as both and individual right and a collective right, and that further constrain Federal jurisdiction on firearms manufacture and sales. In light of Heller, any law, agency directive (or “interpretation”), or executive order that infringes on the Second Amendment will quickly be stricken down. (But then there is the nagging issue of Federal court packing by the BHO administration. This is possible, depending on how many SCOTUS justices retire in the next four to eight years.)
Getting back to the economic morass, the key point again is that the floodgates have been opened. There is now no limit to the MOAB. Rather than allow the natural market cycle to work malinvestment out of the economy, the Federal government and the Federal Reserve banking cartel will do their best to reliquify and and re-inflate the Big Bubble. What will come of this is anyone’s guess, since this is truly Terra Incognita. A liquidity crisis this enormous is without precedent. Will the deflationary spiral be unstoppable? Will mass inflation emerge? Stay tuned. But don’t look to me for answers. I didn’t write the script. Or then again, maybe I did.
Business Week recently reported: “New Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is exploring the creation of a government-funded ‘bad bank’ to buy up mortgage-backed securities and other troubled assets from banks in hopes of boosting their capital levels…” This is all aimed at breaking banks out of their fear of lending. Bankers are currently so petrified that the credit market has essentially dried up. Even ostensibly credit-worthy companies can’t get loans. So the MOAB expands, yet again, using taxpayer dollars to buy up the toxic debt. Talk about a losing proposition! Only a government would embark on such a venture. Of course, they’ll be doing what governments do best: spending other people’s money.
The government’s response to the credit collapse could best be described as a “horrible spasm”. (I mean that in the McNamara sense of the term.) The Feds and the Fed are flailing about, throwing money around in gargantuan quantities, hoping that something, anything works to get credit flowing and the economy jump started. They won’t dare admit that they have no idea what they are doing. Parenthetically, do you remember Jim Cramer shouting “He has no idea!”, back in August of ’07? Perhaps that public meltdown on CNBC was a foreshadowing that The Powers That Be still have no idea. Again, we’ve entered Terra Incognita. As I warned in July of ’07 and again in March of ’08, things could get very, very bad before they ge any t better.
To monitor the economic situation, I recommend watching some key figures:
The first is the US Dollar Index. (After testing the critical 72 level, the Dollar has gained strength in foreign exchange. (Not because of any inherent strength, but rather because European banking is even more badly broken than American banking, and the Euro and Pound have taken a beating)
Next is the spot price of gold. (Can you spell “suppression”?)
This Adjusted Monetary Base chart released by the St. Louis regional Federal Reserve Bank sheds further light on the “Big Picture”. (Look closely: Don’t miss the upright spike that is hidden behind the gray bar at the right end of the chart, showing the enormous growth of the monetary base in 2008.)
And lets not forget the bank reserves statistics published by the Federal Reserve.(These show a banking system that was until recently starving for reserves, but is now gorged with reserves that the bankers refuse to lend, out of fear.)
For even greater detail, see Dr. Gary North’s “Charts to Monitor” links.
In conclusion, I must repeat my long-standing advice to SurvivalBlog readers: Get prepared to ride out a lengthy economic depression with accompanying civil strife, massive economic dislocation, and the destruction of the dollar as a currency unit. Self-sufficiency, self-defense, and charity may very well be the bywords of the coming decade.