Bill Bonner

Dow up 45 points on Friday. The 10-year T-note right on the 2% yield mark.

Almost all the news is good. It looks like recovery is finally here.

Or, are we just getting used to a punky economy…where even a little improvement looks like a boom?

As far as we know, the US economy is still in a Great Correction…with plenty more correction ahead.

But people get used to correction…and used to the feds pumping in cash and credit to keep things from getting too rough. It is not exactly “normal” for a central bank to lend money below the rate of consumer price inflation. And it is not exactly “normal” for the government to run a deficit equal to 8% of GDP…or for it to spend $1.50 for every dollar it gets in tax revenues.

A lot of things aren’t “normal.” But if you do them for long enough, people get used to them. Even giving away money begins to seem normal.

The feds didn’t invent their EZ money theories. John Maynard Keynes came up with the goofy program many years ago. He met with Franklin Roosevelt and explained the idea. Roosevelt later confessed that he had no idea what Keynes was talking about. But he liked Keynes’ palaver. Because it gave him a theoretical justification for taking control of the economy.

Keynes’ basic idea was stolen from the Old Testament. Pharaoh stored up grain during the years when harvests were good. Then, he gave out the grain when they were bad. He looked like a genius. FDR probably wanted to look like a genius too.

But governments found it a lot easier to spend during the lean years than to save during the fat ones. In practice, they didn’t save at all. And then, when trouble came, they had no real resources with which to do any good.

Instead, they could only borrow money…or print it.

The real problem now is that the private sector has debt to settle. But you can’t settle debt with more debt.

No, dear reader, you can’t borrow your way out of debt. But you can sure in-debt your way out of borrowing. That is, you can run up so much debt that no one wants to lend you any more money. And when that happens…you’re like Greece.

But the USA isn’t Greece — except in the important ways. Both nations spend more than they can afford, depending on debt to make up the difference. And it works…sometimes for longer than you might imagine.

And while it’s working, everybody is pretty happy.

Investors seem to think our problems are behind us. But are they? We turn our heads to look back. Yes, we see a few problems back there. Households have reduced their debt-to-GDP ratio by 15%. Unfortunately, they’ve got a long way to go. At least another 15%. Maybe another 50%.

And as long as they’re working on it…there can’t be a genuine recovery.

All the feds are doing is setting us up for more, worse trouble. Government debt is rising fast.

So…how does this eventually resolve itself? Badly is our guess…

But wait.

You probably think the feds are smart people. If they’re running up big debts, it must be for a good reason, right? And they must know what they’re doing, right?

And if things start to go bad, they’ll see the error of their ways and change direction, right? Hey, that’s what’s nice about modern democratic government! The people control it. They’ll always do what’s best for themselves, right? And what’s best for the people is best for the country.

On the other hand, nobody wants the country to go broke, do they? So, it won’t happen, will it? Isn’t that the way things work?

No, afraid not. Often things happen that no one wants to happen. Who wants a $15 trillion US national debt? Who wants 25 million people without jobs? Who wants Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in the White House?

’Nuff said.

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America's most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind The Daily ReckoningDice Have No Memory: Big Bets & Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas, the newest book from Bill Bonner, is the definitive compendium of Bill's daily reckonings from more than a decade: 1999-2010. 

  • JM Keynes

    In the long run, we’re all dead.

  • Groucho Marx

    All the better for me if you finish first.

  • John Galt’s friend

    Martin Armstrong points out that it’s better to print money than to borrow it. Over half the national debt is interest accrued on the previous debt. When you print the money, you don’t accrue interest and you don’t have to pay it back (that avoids the default stuff, too, and the pretense of repayment).

  • Bob

    Events are in the saddle, and ride mankind.

  • 2 funny

    “Martin Armstrong points out that it’s better to print money than to borrow it.”

    Yup, and it’s better to freeze to death than drown.

  • http://TheInvestorsPal.com/ The InvestorsPal

    Who wants Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in the White House?

    How about Rick Santorum?

  • http://ChairmanOfTheBored.org/ ChairmanOfTheBored

    I have started to read http://www.haaretz.com/ on a daily basis.

  • Bart

    “Martin Armstrong points out that it’s better to print money than to borrow it.”

    Yes, but then the insiders could not extract their pound of flesh.
    It’s a great system, conceived by bankers for bankers.

  • John Galt’s Banker Buddy

    This is the best of all possible worlds.

  • Chris

    Vote Ron Paul. He is the only one who is and has always been genuinely against the bankers. The others are just a pretense !

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