If you’re thinking of the word “hubris” right now, well, I hope you’re not the only one.
There’s one other teensy little thing the Fed has to do: It must return interest rates to something normal, or those excess trillions will flow right back into the economy as “free” debt.
If rates bounce back up to just five percent — which is actually not high at all — then our interest payments get jacked up to $800,000,000,000 a year, every year, forever.
And that’s just on the money we already owe. Every additional dollar we borrow gets added to the total, and the interest payments go up even higher. Every year, forever.
We could balance the budget right now, and our interest payments would still be on a short slope to nearly a trillion dollars a year. Every year, forever.
So the problem isn’t balancing the budget by 2040, or 2027 or even tomorrow. The problem is, we need to start paying down the debt, and we need to do it very soon. Because thanks to our World’s Biggest and Dumbest Adjustable Rate Mortgage, we’re about to have a debt payment that’s bigger than our defense budget, that’s bigger than Social Security, that’s bigger than Medicare/Medicaid.
The only other options are default, or hyperinflation. Or, perhaps most likely: Both. Either results in the immediate destruction of our economy as we’ve known it. Say hello to your house that’s worth nothing, and gas you can’t afford.
So that’s our problem. That’s the brick wall we’re running into head first. Obama’s non-plan runs us into the wall sooner. Ryan’s plan gets us there a little later. But we’re still going to crash into that wall if we don’t start paying down the debt, and paying it down in a big way.