Sunday, August 22, 2010

Screwing the Pooch

Screwing the pooch is a colorful phrase, the origins of which may or may not be the military. What the phrase describes is a situation that you cannot take back or undo.

Financially and economically, the USA has screwed the pooch. We cannot undo what we have done. And all that remains is a slow and agonizing financial death. How bad will it get? Very bad.

Many things have had to happen historically to arrive at the place where we are today. The key component occurred in 1913 when the Federal Reserve System was given life. The elimination of the gold standard a few decades later. Then greed and power took over.

The last great act of attrition was NAFTA. That act allowed greedy corporate America to find slave labor in markets that paid less than a buck an hr. And all of our manufacturing left. And all of our money left to buy good in those slave labor markets.

Walmart is simply an outlet store for China.

Greedy corporate America could not do this without the help of the US government. That we have had a bunch of idiots running this country for so long is beyond question. That it is populated by "degreed" men, many of them lawyers, speaks to the insanity of our culture. We actually bought off on the premise that somehow these men and women with their college degrees and credentials knew what they were doing. That they were smarter than us. We were wrong.

Thus we will face a slow and agonizing death. The first major shock occurred in 2008. There will be more to follow. The Federal Reserve, the same bank that issues government debt in the form of bonds, is now the chief entity buying those bonds. Why? Because the US is broke, the world is broke, and there is nobody else to buy that enormous debt that we refinance each year. It is the equivalent of buying stuff on a VisaCard and using a Mastercard to pay the bill each month.

How long can the FED keep up this charade? I don't know. I think the end will come via inflation after an exploding bond bubble. Bond yields are ridiculously low, courtesy of the bazillions of investors searching out any kind of yield and flocking into US treasurys. That market will implode soon just as the housing market did.

The government screwed this pooch. That they have screwed up everything that they have ever laid their hands on should be no surprise. With no jobs, there are no taxes. With no taxes, there can be no revenue to pay off debt.

It is as simple as that. Barring an economic miracle, an act our current leader and Congress are absolutely incapable of performing, we are doomed. The reason they won't do what is needed has to do with lifespan. This country is dying a slow death. They will be able to vacate their seats long before the total collapse occurs. Maybe. They are not concerned with the health of this country. They are only concerned about themselves. And most of them will be heading for the exits when it happens. Blaming Bush and others. Completely frozen in the headlights like deer. So what will the future look like?

Jobs and the capacity to bring them back, gone. Tax cuts for everyone, gone. Medicare and Social Security gone. The stock market and bond markets will implode. Government will try to freeze private and public investments. Your retirement accounts, bankrupt. Maybe force you into buying bonds or raise the penalties to such a degree that your money is essentially locked up and seized. The dollar will implode.

Of course they will do these things incrementally. There is already talk of SS and Medicare elimination. There is talk of forcing private 401k investment into US treasurys.

There is one very interesting example of a completely bankrupt government surviving. Japan. But they don't sell bonds to the world like we do. A completely broke world that lacks the capacity to buy them. The net buyers of bonds are going to lose their money.

So there's not much point in talking about this anymore. It's too late. We have screwed the pooch and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. We have a slight window, maybe only a year or two, but our vacationing President and Congress- like all the others before him- are too scared and unwilling to save the Republic. I'm not even sure they recognize this imminent threat. A couple more trillion in debt and interest is all it will take. Just a year or two more of that accumulation and we will be completely past the point of return. Our leaders, who are not leaders at all, simply lack the vision and courage that it will take to wrest our way of life from an ever widening debt abyss. I have seen nothing to encourage me thus far and that includes the mid term elections in Nov. Throwing the existing idiots out and replacing them with fresh idiots will not work. It hasn't worked yet.

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