Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #467: Slingshot

The $7 trillion question
Do expansive federal bailout plans doom Americans to an inflationary future?

NEW YORK (Fortune) — A billion dollars here, $7 trillion there: How long till Uncle Sam has to cry “uncle?”

For now, frightened investors worldwide continue to gobble up U.S. Treasury bonds, and they aren’t much concerned about the impact of all the obligations the U.S. government is taking on to try and head off economic catastrophe.

But the government printing money, lending money to shaky corporations and guaranteeing debt that may never be repaid all could have troubling consequences in the not-too-distant future.

The No. 1 concern: Even if actions taken by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury succeeds at stabilizing the global financial system, and an economic recovery takes hold, a brutal inflationary spike will be right around the corner.

“Inflation is the 8,000-pound gorilla in the room,” said Gary Hager, president of Integrated Wealth Management in New Jersey. “We’re sitting in the room with the coffee cups vibrating.”

In that environment, long-term interest rates would soar, the value of the U.S. dollar would plummet, policy makers would face a whole new set of challenges.

Emphasis added by me.

Pay attention. This is the brutal truth you will be facing:

“Everyone is going to lose something,” said Will Hepburn, president and chief investment officer of Hepburn Capital Management in Prescott, Ariz. “The winners will be those who end up losing the least.”

Emphasis added by me.

Here’s what’s already gone:

Hepburn gives federal officials “bonus points” for concocting innovative responses to the credit crunch. The ongoing collapse of U.S. stock market and real estate values, he said, has slashed U.S. household wealth by at least $10 trillion – and those paper losses could go much higher before the swoon ends.

Emphasis added by me.

How’s that 401K looking these days? What will be left of it tomorrow?

Taleb said things could happen fast. Here’s the recent history:

But Hager notes that it was only four months ago that oil cost $100 a barrel more than its recent $47, which shows how quickly market dynamics can change.

What’s more, he said, while people are still struggling to figure out the costs tied to starting up and overseeing the government bailouts, no one seems to have put much thought to an equally important endeavor – how the government withdraws the massive support it has offered the markets in the event its efforts start to bear fruit.

While efforts to thaw the credit markets are taking effect slowly, Tom Sowanick, chief investment officer at Clearbrook Financial, sees a risk that they could suddenly become much more effective, leading to a jump in prices and a selloff in the dollar.

“The economy’s in a bit of a slingshot,” said Sowanick. “We are looking at a high probability of inflation issues ahead.”

Emphasis added by me.

But this is what I want you to remember of this post:

“Everyone is going to lose something. The winners will be those who end up losing the least.”

Emphasis added by me.

If they have their way, we will lose the most. I say let’s all be losers — so we can all be winners.

Explore posts in the same categories: C.O.A.T. - Belief, C.O.A.T. - Money, C.O.A.T. - Scams, C.O.A.T. - Self-Defense, Depression 2.0

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