Financial repression: debt exit strategy?

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earthwise's picture
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Financial repression: debt exit strategy?


A short while ago, Jim Rickards postulated that there would be no more QE as we know it, that the Federal Reserve would fund U.S. deficits by simply rolling over maturing debt through the buying new debt. The idea was met with puzzlement by many (most?) simply because of the inadequacy to fund more than a fraction of the $1.5 trillion deficit. Certainly, it was thought, that the Fed would have to print more.

But, he fleshes out here the formula by which the US government plans to extricate itself from it's crushing debt. It's called financial repression and he illuminates the recent work of Carmen Rhinehart on this matter.

Daniel Amerman also does a good job on the same topic with this.

In a nutshell Financial repression consists of:

1) Inflation. Money printing. 'Nuff said

2) Negative interest rates. Rates below the rate of inflation.

3) Involuntary funding. This, I think, is the kicker. With maturing debt insufficient to fund the deficit, and China and just about everybody else running away from buying more debt, who's gonna step up to buy up the auctions? The TBTF banks that's who. It's part of their bailout deal.

4) Capital controls. With these the US government keeps it's victims in it's clutches-no way out.

Though both commentators point out some major pitfalls, it still seems like a feasible plan, especially since it has historically been succesful at "shearing the sheep" as Amerman puts it.




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