lundi, juillet 21, 2008

A free market captive

Instead of the label of global superpower, let's try on the monicker of debtor nation.
It might be helpful in giving us a dose of reality therapy.
Do you know that our national debt is in the arena of 9.4 trillion dollars?
Do you also happen to know who owns most of that debt? That would be China, Japan and the Persian Gulf countries.
If you swilled the KoolAid of total free market capitalism over the past seven years, you might be feeling a little stupid right now.
That's because, when the hand was called, the United States caved-and intervened to save not only the investors at Bear Stearns but also the companies that own almost half of US mortgages, Fannie and Freddie Mac.
Our pure as the driven snow (and she too has drifted) elders in the Bush Administration decided that they had to do something, instead of letting the virus of failure spread.
Of course, we will pay for it, either through increased taxes or through inflation.
Which leads to a few other frightening questions?
How long are our bondholders in Asia and the Gulf going to continue investing in the US?
How long will it be before our currency becomes devalued enough so that they ask us to pay up?
Fiscal discipline and free market orthodoxy are uncomfortable bedfellows. But if we don't find a way to curb our reckless borrowing, and make wise choices both individual and corporately, we might find ourselves looking more like Eastern Europe than like yikes....France or Kuwait.
That's because they sure as heck don't want to end up looking like us.

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