How did we reach a place where some of the Smartest People in the Room™ think we can get rich by debasing the currency? That’ exactly Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s plan, to buy at least half a trillion-with-a-T worth of long-term Treasury notes.

And where does the money come from? Out Bernanke’s bottom. It all imaginary — the Fed will simply invent $500,000,000,000* because of this insane notion that a country can get rich by eating its seed corn and filling the silo with the world’s biggest IOU.

And those Treasuries? The debt created at Bernanke’s whim? That’s as real as cancer and hand grenades, and he’s putting it on our tab.

UPDATE: What? The real number is $600,000,000,000*? Then that’s just fine then.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Do I hear $1,000,000,000,000?

*Corrected for lost zeroes.