Friday, April 29, 2011

Thanks to the Fed, They Already Are Defaulting

By Jacob Hornberger

The doomsday crowd claims that the sky will fall in if the Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. If the ceiling isn’t raised, they say, the federal government will be forced to default on its debt payments, which apparently will then cause the sky to fall in.

That’s, of course, ridiculous. For one thing, just because the federal government isn’t permitted to add to its ever-soaring mountain of debt doesn’t mean that it will be forced to default on debt payments. With the $2.2 trillion it collects in tax revenues, it can give first priority to debt payments.

But let’s assume there is a default. Will the sky fall in, as the doomsayers claim?

Not likely. After all, thanks to the Federal Reserve the federal government is already defaulting on its debts — and has been for decades.

While the ostensible purpose of the Federal Reserve is to “stabilize” the money supply, its real purpose is to enable public officials to spend as much money as they want by borrowing it and then letting the Federal Reserve pay off its creditors with newly printed, debased, cheapened, devalued dollars.

That’s precisely what the Fed is doing now, has been doing recently, and has been doing ever since it was established in 1913. It “monetizes” the government’s debt by printing the money to pay it off. The inflated supply of money cheapens the value of the money in circulation, which means that bondholders are being repaid in currency that is worth less than it was when they loaned it.

That’s a default.

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