Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama and Hyperinflation

There is nothing complicated about this. Barack Obama wants to increase government spending in a major way to fund his various programs. To do this, he wants to increase taxes. Sounds reasonable on the surface. Problem is, raising taxes reduces GDP. The economy shrinks, and overall tax revenue is reduced. But the increased government spending remains. How will he pay for all this?

Like anyone who spends more than they take in, Obama will have to borrow money to pay for all these new or expanded programs. The government borrows money by selling treasury securities. People, firms, and governments around the world buy US Treasury securities because they consider the US to be a trustworthy borrower.

Now, what happens if people around the world start losing trust in the United States' ability to pay back it's debts?

A company or individual that cannot borrow will simply have to suck it up and do without. A government, on the other hand, has another option: If you don't have enough money and you can't borrow more, just print what you need!

So with a Democrat President and Democrat-controlled Congress, with a shrinking economy and reduced tax revenue, and with reduced ability to borrow, what will prevent them from ordering up a trillion new dollars? Or five trillion?

Or is this already happening?

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