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02.19 Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall? [Fear that Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.18 Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market

02.18 Trump administration condemned over delaying action on toxic drinking water

02.16 New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]

02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]

02.16 My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

02.16 US coastal businesses hit by everyday impact of climate change, study shows

02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]

02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]

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02.12 Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

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02.22 So How's Your Tax Refund? Thanks to GOP Tax Scam, Big Banks Made Extra $28 Billion Last Year

02.21 Why Bernie Sanders Matters More Than People Think

02.21 Bezos Says Amazon Drones Ready to Deliver Mueller Report to Every American Household

02.21 Devin Nunes Was Trump’s Mole Inside the Gang of Eight

02.21 Alec Baldwin fears for family's safety after Trump 'retribution' threats [0:40 video]

02.20 Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]

02.20 The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

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02.20 Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead?

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02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]

02.16 Elliott Abrams Defends War Crimes As Happening Back In The ’80s When Everyone Was Doing It

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02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]

02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]

02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]

02.20 My grandfather was a Nazi. I’ve seen why we need the EU

02.19 Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in

02.19 Renewables need urgent investment to ease Australia's transmission bottlenecks, experts warn

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  When Things Fall Apart
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ECONOMIC COMMENTARY:

When Things Fall Apart

Launching Life Dinghies in the Maelstrom

by Paul Craig Roberts
Friday, 20 March 2009
If the US government is forced to print money to cover the high costs of its wars and bailouts, things could fall apart very quickly.
On March 19 the New York Times reported: “The Fed said it would purchase an additional $750 billion worth of government-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities, on top of the $500 billion that it is currently in the process of buying. In addition, the Fed said it would buy up to $300 billion worth of longer-term Treasury securities over the next six months.”

The Federal Reserve says that its purchase of $1 trillion in existing bonds is part of its plan to revive the economy. Another way to view the Fed’s announcement is to see it as a preemptive rescue. Is the Fed rescuing banks from their bond portfolios prior to the destruction of bond prices by inflation?

The answer to this question probably lies in the answer to the unanswered question of how the unprecedented sizes of the FY 2009 and FY 2010 federal budget deficits will be financed. Neither the US savings rate nor the trade surpluses of our major foreign lenders are sufficient.

I know of only two ways of financing the looming monster deficits. One, courtesy of Pam Martens, is that the federal deficits could be financed by further flight from equities and other investments.

This is a possibility. If the mortgage-back security problem is real and not contrived, the next shock should arise from commercial real estate. Stores are closing in shopping centers, and vacancies are rising in office buildings. Without rents, the mortgages can’t be paid.Roberts' book

Another scare and another big drop in the stock market will set off a second “flight to quality” and finance the budget deficits.

The other way is to print money. John Williams (shadowstats.com) thinks that the budget deficits will be financed by monetizing debt. The Federal Reserve will buy most of the new bonds and create demand deposits for the Treasury. In effect, the money supply will grow by the amount of Fed purchases of new Treasury debt. Printing money to finance the government’s budget normally leads to high inflation and high interest rates.

The initial impact of the announcement of the Fed’s plan to purchase existing debt was to drive up the bond prices. However, if the reserves poured into the banking system by the bond purchases result in new money growth, and if the Fed purchases the new debt issues to finance the governments’ budget deficits, the outlook for bond prices and the dollar becomes poor.

It will be interesting to see how the currency markets view the problem. The New York Times reported that “the dollar plunged about 3 percent against other major currencies” in response to the Fed’s announcement.

If the exchange value of the dollar works its way down, it will complicate the financing of the trade deficit and impact the decisions of foreigners who hold large stocks of US dollar debt. The premier of China recently expressed his concern about the safety of his country’s large investment in US dollar debt.

If the US government is forced to print money to cover the high costs of its wars and bailouts, things could fall apart very quickly.


Paul Craig RobertsPaul Craig Roberts is an economist who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics". He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy: The Collapse of the Socialist Era and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.

This article is published in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on March 21, 2009.

 

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