Why You Should Prepare for Deflation

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Published : April 06th, 2019
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Category : Opinions and Analysis

I’ve been writing on deflation since the early-1990s, when I had the topic all to myself and was regarded as a voice on the lunatic fringe. Scary essays that I freelanced toBarron’s, theSan Francisco Examiner and a number of other publications turned out to have been premature, but I’ve never doubted that the endgame for a global economy glutted by debt would be a deflationary collapse. Skeptics say the Government will make this impossible by simply revving up the printing presses, creating enough money to bail out ‘the system’ regardless of how many dollars it takes. Oh really? How would this work if, as is extremely likely, a state pension system goes bust?

Realize that 28 states have been growing their liabilities twice as fast as their economies, and that in the states that lead the pack — i.e., New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Kentucky  — accrued debts have been growing three to four times as fast as their respective economies. How long can that go on?  My guess is that Illinois, with a fiscally reckless Chicago to help bring it down, will be the first state to go belly-up.  Were the Federal government to come to the rescue, actual ‘helicopter money’ would be needed, since checks would have to go out every month to retirees so that they could meet recurring expenses.

The ‘Catch 22’ of a Bailout

Two dozen other states would be close behind, seeking the same treatment. If they got it, that would be tantamount to hyperinflation. Before you assume that such a thing is even remotely possible, substitute the word ‘taxpayer’ for  ‘Federal government,’ because that is who would pay for a bailout.  That’s right: All of us working stiffs would presumably be on the hook…forever, forking over a big piece of our paychecks to cover the bills of down-and-outers in more than two dozen states. Yeah, sure. And here’s the kicker: If printing-press money were used instead of transfer payments, the hyperinflation that would instantly result would make checks mailed out to the Illinois pensioner worthless. That’s the ‘Catch 22’ of a pension system bailout by ‘the government’.

Much bigger disasters loom, by the way, since the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid systems also face certain bankruptcy. Anyone who doubts this should be required to answer this question:  Do you actually believe that millennials and gen-xers who are living with their parents till they’re 35, and who are $50,000 or more in hock for mostly worthless college degrees, will be able to foot the bills for baby boomers’ Social Security and Medicare? (FYI, ten-thousand of them are retiring each day.) End of debate. For more-detailed predictions concerning the impending debt deflation and ways you can prepare for it,click herefor a recent interview I did with Howe Street’sJim Goddard,and herefor an interview withGreg Hunterof USA Watchdog.

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Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, a daily trading newsletter and intraday advisory packed with detailed strategies, fresh ideas and plain old horse sense.
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