A helium currency is increasingly what we’re being paid in, too. Value? It now costs $12 to get back and forth across the George Washington Bridge. Untold thousands of cars do that every day, producing incredible revenues, yet the tab keeps rising every few years. Are costs rising or is the money shrinking or both? Whenever grim reality (a stock meltdown, a new rise in foreclosures or unemployment) raises its ugly head, the Fed obliges with a wink, an acceleration of the presses, a “twist,” a nod. Our intrepid Fed chief has said he’d “drop money from helicopters” if that’s what continued suspension of disbelief requires. And he was probably chosen for the job for precisely that reason, given that the outlines of this country’s looming fiscal berg (the boomers’ retirement) were clearly visible years ago. Right now, the Fed itself is the largest buyer of Uncle Sam’s debt. That’s right; one part of the government is supporting the rest with its magic printing press. How’s that for a “confidence builder”?
Reality for the Titanic was that it shouldn’t have been hurtling at high speed through an inky sea of icebergs; reality for us, as has been amply shown in Europe, is that the lack of productivity that is the hallmark of leftonomics eventually causes it to sink of its own weight. Through the International Monetary Fund and the Fed, we’re desperately trying to bail out Europe now; who’ll be there for us?
Still, the captain’s on the bridge, and he’s got a confident, almost cocky, grin on his face. His order to the sociopolitical engineers: “Full speed ahead!”