Some things are a long time coming. You see them approaching slowly. Sometimes you are ready,sometimes you are not. Sometimes you want to believe, sometimes you don't. Regardless of your individual ideas and interpretations...they happen anyway.
Yesterday's S&P downgrade of the U.S. debt outlook is precisely such an event. It shouldn't have surprised anyone. In fact, it is pretty easy to argue that this news is simply an official admittance of our daily reality of the past three years. The dollar is weakening, multiple states are functionally bankrupt, a tank of gas is becoming a luxury purchase and our national debt is swallowing up everything in sight, with no suppression of its ravenous appetite anywhere on the horizon.
Whenever things start getting fishy it is wise to look around and think about who stands to benefit from the chaos. But when the whole room, house and neighborhood reek of foulness you can no longer simply ignore daily occurrences. You have to face facts or at least...consider some alternative possibilities.
I see a positive side to all of this. Yes... you did just read that. Growing up around Jurassic Wall Street, strategic default was that little red button they all joked about pressing. Back in those days it was a perverted in house joke, today it may become reality for us all.
Strategic Default: The U.S.A's Ace in the Hole
There is an old saying in the industry which most of us have heard or used in some way, shape or form:
When you owe the bank $100,000...the bank owns you. When you owe the bank $100,000,000... you own the bank.
Nowhere can I see this principle better applied than in the silent chess game playing out in global finance over the past couple of years. The world's biggest borrower has turned the tables on everyone, by becoming the biggest debtor on the planet.
That's right boys and girls... America is strategically defaulting on its debt. I am starting to believe that has been the plan all along. It is certainly the only logic I can accept at this point. In spite of my own fondness for throwing rocks at the throne, the people in power didn't get there by being dumb. Like so many of our own welfare mommas, eternal un-employees, illegal insurance usurpers, union commies, corporate fascists, etc...our government is playing the World Bank, the IMF, the Paris Club, China, OPEC and anyone else dumb enough to have loaned us a dime in the first place...in the same exact way.
We are simply playing dumb while grinning in private glee. Borrowing money we do not intend to pay back and exporting inflation that we cannot hope to curtail at home.
Think about it honestly, without econ and corp fin class rhetoric clouding your judgment. We are too deep in the hole to pay our way out. Cutting off entitlements is not compatible with politician needs to bask in the comfort of incumbency. The leaders of Unions and Corporations alike, are not leaving their dens of wealth and power without a fight.
The new battle becomes America vs. Her Creditors. Except this time, in the stead of our attempts to export capitalism, democracy and our values...it will be "the world" trying to get the U.S. to honor our debts.
What will they do when they arrive at our doors in New York, D.C, Chicago, L.A and find the lights on... but the doorbell ignored?
I am changing my tune. I am becoming a Keynesian. I am breaking out my credit card. I am going shopping. I am going to borrow. I like debt.
Please sirs, may I have some more?