The U.S. debt downgrade is really more than a tiny one notch cut in the credit worthiness of the U.S. One talking head on television said yesterday that there was never any question that the U.S. would repay its debt because the country can print money. The talking head is correct but does not take into consideration the future buying power of the repayment dollars. Printing money at the rate the Fed has been doing devalues the currency and, in effect, allows the government to default with dollars with reduced buying power. This is precisely why Bill Gross, head of the world’s biggest bond fund, PIMCO, said recently that people who invest in Treasuries will “get cooked.” In my mind, the debt downgrade by S&P last week was really a downgrade of the U.S. dollar. There are going to be many more downgrades to come.
Guest Writer Brandon Smith wrote a great piece this week forecasting some of the consequences of the S&P action. Smith is the founder of Alt-Market.com. If you want a general map of the sights you will be seeing on the downgrade road, please read this important post. —Greg Hunter–
America “Makes The Cut” – So What Happens Next?
By Brandon Smith
Guest Writer for USAWatchdog.com
Around the world, starting Monday, all eyes are on the markets. The tension is palpable. The uncertainty is ample. And anger is heavy in the air. As predicted, the debt ceiling deal was not only NOT enough to assuage economic fears, it actually exacerbated them, triggering a flight from the Dow, and creating a decisive opportunity for ratings agency S&P to cut the once perfect U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+.
At Alt-Market, we often talk about points of balance, and how certain moments in history become highly visible indicators of balance lost. If we pay close attention, and know what we are looking for, these moments can be recognized, allowing us time to shield ourselves from the explosion and the resulting financial shrapnel. The past two weeks have culminated into one of these defining events that tell us the tide has fully turned, and something new and dangerous is just over the horizon. The question now is; what should we expect?
The nature of the credit downgrade situation is not necessarily “unprecedented” in history, but it is surely unprecedented on the scale we see currently in the U.S. It is difficult to predict how exactly the investment world will react. Some consequences, though, are probable, if not inevitable. Let’s examine the events we are likely to see in the coming weeks as well as the coming months, as nations attempt to adjust to America’s final plunge…
1) Ratings Agencies Under Attack
This has already begun. Italian authorities have raided the offices of S&P and Moody’s, apparently perturbed that their credit rating is not under their control. The U.S. is accusing S&P of making “accounting mistakes” and jumping the gun on the American downgrade. The battle between insolvent governments and the ratings agencies from here on will escalate quickly. More offices will be investigated and raided. The mainstream media will try to assert that the downgrades are “not that important”, and that the U.S. will recover quite nicely without a perfect score. Eventually, as the collapse becomes more evident, ratings agencies will fill the role as the go to scapegoat / economic hitman at which all governments will point accusing fingers.
“S&P is gonna’ cut you man! S&P’s a blade-man, man!”
In my view, it’s all theater. First, let’s set aside the recent ratings cuts altogether and look at the facts. The U.S. should have been downgraded years ago, especially after the Federal Reserve decided to begin purchasing U.S. Treasury Bonds in place of dwindling foreign interest and turned to monetizing our debt to the point of rampant inflation. Italy and numerous other EU members should have been downgraded to junk status a long time ago as well. If anything, the ratings agencies over the past few years have been PROTECTING the credit reputations of many countries which in no way deserve it. The recent downgrades are long overdue…
Second, suddenly governments and MSM pundits feel it necessary to point out the large part ratings agencies played in the derivatives bubble and subsequent credit crisis? Please! They were perfectly content with S&P or Moody’s giving fraudulent top ratings for toxic garbage securities, and even defended agency actions after the bubble burst! Now, after they finally start doing their jobs by downgrading bad debt, governments want an investigation?
Third, ratings agencies were not alone in the creation of the derivatives bubble. The private Federal Reserve artificially lowered interest rates and flooded the markets with cheap fiat. International banks used this fast money to create the easy mortgage groundswell and the derivatives poison that was fed it into the system. Ratings agencies went along with the scam and graded the worthless securities as AAA. The federal government and the SEC allowed all of this to take place by purposely ignoring the crime and refusing to apply existing regulations in investigating the fraud.
The Bottom line? You CANNOT create an economic crisis like the one we face today without collusion between big business, government, regulatory bodies, and ratings agencies. The Obama Administration is well aware of this, and the attacks on S&P are nothing more than a show. S&P is not to blame for the downgrade this past weekend. They are ALL to blame.
2) Increased Borrowing Costs
While the mainstream will attempt to downplay the effects of a U.S. downgrade, they cannot deny that our country’s borrowing costs have just gone up. This causes several unfortunate circumstances to develop. Our ability to continue funding our liabilities is now greatly diminished, unless we turn to the Federal Reserve even more in the purchasing of treasury bonds. If investors and central banks can’t get AAA protection for their money in America, they will simply turn to other countries that still retain a top credit rating. The safety of dollars and treasuries already held by other countries will come under question. In response to the S&P downgrade, China, our largest creditor, has openly stated that U.S. securities can no longer be trusted, and that the dollar must be replaced as the world reserve currency. If the dollar does not take an immediate dive starting this week, it certainly will over the course of the Fall season. There are, indeed, many direct consequences in light of a U.S. downgrade. Anyone who says otherwise is living in dreamland.
3) European Union Feeling The Pain
The EU is on a direct interception course with disaster, just as we are, however, being that the U.S. dollar is a widespread world reserve currency, all nations will be affected by our particular downgrade, as opposed to the Greek downgrade, for example, whose effects were minor in comparison.
The European Central Bank has initiated its own TARP measures, and due to the quickening implosion of Spain and Italy, is fully prepared to print fiat Euros in a desperate attempt to control the damage. European reliance on the American consumer has proved fatal. The result is an ever expanding avalanche of fiat on both sides of the Atlantic in an insane race to the bottom between our respective currencies. This development fits perfectly with the IMF plan to introduce Special Drawing Rights (the SDR) as the new global reserve currency, though I’m sure it’s all just a coincidence…
The ECB is also facing serious resistance from Germany, which has been shelling out the largest portion of bailout funds for countries like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. Germany is tired of playing sugar daddy to the EU, which could conceivably lead to a breakup of the union itself, even with the implementation of fiat injections.
4) Blame Game Overdrive
The blame game is about to get ugly. When economic catastrophe is on the line, civility goes out the window. Who will be the primary target besides ratings agencies? Why fiscal conservatives, of course! Obviously, the Tea Party is full of “terrorists”, and real conservatives are the true culprit behind the collapse because we have this annoying tendency of pointing out that our spending addicted government is dragging us hogtied on a speedboat to Hades.
Please, America, don’t blame the Federal Reserve for feeding the derivatives bubble and destroying our currency. Don’t fret over global banks like Goldman Sachs that deliberately conjured the credit crisis. Don’t attack the government for lending a helping hand to these entities in their quest for complete financial centralization. Instead, shoot the messenger. We love that…
5) Drastic Measures
An announcement by the Fed of yet a third QE stimulus package is a certainty. If the market reaction is especially negative this week, an announcement could even be made before this month is out. I have no doubt, QE3 will be the undoing of this country. Any further devaluation of the dollar will NOT be tolerated by creditor nations who have much to lose if the process of U.S. inflation continues. Treasuries will be dumped. The dollar will be dumped. And, America will have little choice but to hyperinflate to keep up with rising debt burdens.
Those who believe that the U.S. is not expendable in terms of the world economy, and believe that foreign nations will continue pouring money into our coffers because they “have to”, are kidding themselves. We are dealing with an engineered global shift. For central bankers, the U.S. economy is no less expendable than an aging sports car. It can easily be replaced with something newer, shinier, and more compact. Something that will get more girls. The call for “international regulation” of U.S. finances will become the rallying cry of elites across the planet, as well as the largest holders of our exponential debt. The current system will be sacrificed to make way for an IMF controlled body of unaccountable economic overseers.
This is not theory. This is not conjecture. This is reality. The credit downgrade of the U.S. is a concrete trigger point that sets all of the above proceedings in motion.
People will ask for hypotheses on time frames for the events above. I don’t have any, though this week’s market attitudes will be revealing as to the speed that events will take shape. So many interacting factors are present that any specific time predictions on the progress of collapse would be unrealistic. For the short term, watch Federal Reserve activity carefully. Introduction of new QE will be extraordinarily volatile. For the long term, watch wholesale and retail prices of goods, along with treasury auctions and foreign flights from U.S. bonds. One thing is certain, the final half of 2011 will be remembered as a historical turning point for us all. That said, the trials ahead were never the issue. That which is most important is how we RESPOND in these moments. How we adapt. How we function. How we fight back. Disasters do not make history. We make history. As overwhelming as the currents of such events may feel, in the end, they are subservient to the actions of resolved men. Nothing is fated. The conclusion depends upon us.
You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected]