Greg Morin, Columnist
As the political pundits and state apologists breathed a sigh of relief over last week’s deal in Congress to end the government “shutdown” a subtle wrinkle in this deal went largely unnoticed. But this wrinkle, like the proverbial butterfly whose flapping wings results in a hurricane, sets the stage for the transformation of the American Empire into a banana republic and with it the ultimate collapse of that empire. How could this go unnoticed? As with all new government initiatives it is cloaked in the innocence of being “temporary.” As the astute observer of history Milton Friedman once observed, “there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”
The deal that was rushed through Congress last week is, like Obamacare, now withering under the light of public scrutiny of those very details our overlords wished to keep hidden. Although laced with several “special deals” in order to buy the votes of particular congressmen, this deal carries with it something far more sinister than the usual run of the mill horse trading. It carries with it the “temporary suspension” of the debt limit until Feb. 7, 2014. What does that mean in practical terms? Quite simply that the U.S. Treasury may issue an unlimited amount of debt between now and Feb. 7. They could issue treasury bonds for tens of trillions of dollars if they wished and it would all be nice and legal. Now is it likely they will do that? Not really. That is not the source of the hidden danger. The real danger lies in the fact that this “temporary” suspension of the debt limit will never end. This is because through procedural gamesmanship this component of the deal was added in such a way that it will take a two-thirds (!) majority of both the house and senate to reverse it. Considering both sides of the aisle are too craven to face the hard choice of reducing spending or increasing taxes you can lay down good money on the fact that they will never vote against something that would require them to ultimately face that quandary of a decision.
So although there will still technically be a debt-limit on the books, it will for all intents and purposes not exist since all who are bound by it have agreed to simply ignore it. Once this new reality becomes the status quo there will be absolutely NOTHING holding back Congress from spending as much as they desire. As they further inflate the currency through more and more debt creation, prices will rise year after year. This will further devalue the purchasing power of the dollar. Eventually, one day soon the United States’ largest creditors (foreign governments) will decide the U.S. dollar is simply not an asset worth holding (would you continue to own a stock whose price dropped every year?) and will cease buying U.S. Treasury debt and will also begin selling the debt they do own (further plunging the value of the dollar). Once that happens it will be declared a “crisis” by those in power who will once again clamor for a “temporary” suspension of even the most tenuous of rules that support the façade of separation between Fed and State. Currently it is illegal for the Federal Reserve to directly purchase U.S. Treasury bonds (although they can do so indirectly through “the market”). However if no one is willing to buy our debt that leaves just one customer standing: the customer that has the legal monopolistic right to create counterfeit money out of thin air – the Federal Reserve. Once the Federal Reserve is “temporarily” permitted to begin buying U.S. Treasury debt, that will be the last nail in the coffin of the American Empire. History has taught us clearly time and time again that once a government starts printing its own currency with no restraints of any kind, hyperinflation is not very far behind.
Perhaps this might seem like hyperbole to some, however if we combine the lessons of history along with our current government’s unwillingness to cut spending and face the economic failures of their socialist inroads into our economy (i.e. subsidization of ANY economic activity) there is simply no other plausible outcome. So get ready, the rollercoaster is poised to plunge straight into the ground. And it all begins not with a “bang” but a mere unnoticed whimper.