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Recovery or Collapse? Bet on Collapse

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What happens if Greece exits the EU on its own or by the German boot? What happens if the other EU members reject German Chancellor Merkel's austerity, as the new president of France promised to do? If Europe breaks apart, do more investors flee to the doomed US dollar?

Will a dollar bubble become the largest bubble in economic history?

When the dollar goes, interest rates will escalate, and bond prices will collapse. Everyone who sought safety in US Treasuries will be wiped out. We should all be aware that such outcomes are not part of the public debate.

Recently Bill Moyers interviewed Simon Johnson, formerly chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and currently professor at MIT. It turns out that deregulation, which abolished the separation of investment banks from commercial banks, permitted Jamie Dimon's JPMorganChase to gamble with federally insured deposits." Despite this, Moyers reports that Republicans remain determined to kill the weak Dodd-Frank law and restore full deregulation.

Simon Johnson says: "I think it [deregulation] is a recipe for disaster." The problem is, Johnson says, that correct economic policy is blocked by the enormous donations banks make to political campaigns. This means Wall Street's attitudes and faulty risk models will result in an even bigger financial crisis than the one from which we are still suffering. And it will happen prior to recovery from the current crisis.

Johnson warns that the Republicans will distract everyone from the real crisis by concocting another "crisis" over the debt ceiling.

Johnson says that...

"A few people, particularly in and around the financial system, have become too powerful. They were allowed to take a lot of risk, and they did massive damage to the economy -- more than eight million jobs lost. We're still struggling to get back anywhere close to employment levels where we were before 2008. And they've done massive damage to the budget. This damage to the budget is long lasting; it undermines the budget when we need it to be stronger because the society is aging. We need to support Social Security and support Medicare on a fair basis. We need to restore and rebuild revenue, revenue that was absolutely devastated by the financial crisis. People need to understand the link between what the banks did and the budget. And too many people fail to do that."

Consequently, Johnson says, the banksters continue to receive mega-benefits while imposing enormous social costs on society.

Few Americans and no Washington policymakers understand the dire situation. They are too busy hyping a non-existent recovery and the next war. Statistician John Williams reports that when correctly measured as a cost of living indicator, which the CPI no longer is, the current inflation rate in the US is 5 to 7 percentage points higher than the officially reported rate, as every consumer knows. The unemployment rate falls because, and only because, people unable to find jobs drop out of the labor force and are no longer counted as unemployed. Every informed person knows that the official inflation and unemployment rates are fictions; yet, the presstitute media continue to report the rates with a straight face as fact.

The way the government has rigged the measure of unemployment, it is possible for the US to have a zero rate of unemployment and not a single person employed or in the work force.

The way the government has the measure of inflation rigged, it is possible for your living standing to fall while the government reports that you are better off.

Financial deregulation raises the returns from speculative schemes above the returns from productive activity. The highly leveraged debt and derivatives that gave us the financial crisis have nothing to do with financing businesses. The banks are not only risking their customers' deposits on gambling bets but also jeopardizing the country's financial stability and economic future.

With an eye on the approaching dollar crisis, which will wreck the international financial system, the presidents of China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, and the prime minister of India met last month to discuss forming a new bank that would shield their economies and commerce from mistakes made by Washington and the European Union. The five countries, known as the BRICS, intend to settle their trade with one another in their own currencies and cease relying on the dollar. The fact that Russia, the two Asian giants, and the largest economies in Africa and South America are leaving the dollar's orbit sends a powerful message of lack of confidence in Washington's handling of financial matters.

It is ironic that the outcome of financial deregulation in the US is the opposite of what its free market advocates promised. In place of highly competitive financial firms that live or die by their wits alone without government intervention, we have unprecedented financial concentration. Massive banks, "too big to fail," now send their multi-trillion dollar losses to Washington to be paid by heavily indebted US taxpayers whose real incomes have not risen in 20 years. The banksters take home fortunes in annual bonuses for their success in socializing the "free market" banks' losses and privatizing profits to the point of not even paying income taxes.

In the US free market economists unleashed avarice and permitted it to run amuck. Will the disastrous consequences discredit capitalism to the extent that the Soviet collapse discredited socialism?

Will Western civilization itself survive the financial tsunami that deregulated Wall Street has produced?

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http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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I don't know about Western civilization collapsing... by Ernie Messerschmidt on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 11:49:27 PM
Very informative OpEd Mr. Roberts.   The... by Tom Madison on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 12:13:06 AM
when it is "lost"?... by Michael David Morrissey on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 1:46:15 AM
other phantom interest bearing assets with the int... by bogi666 on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 3:51:42 AM
Money is created out of thin air, really nothing m... by ProgressiveBum on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 3:53:13 PM
But if none of these "losses" are real, why are pe... by Michael David Morrissey on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 2:27:50 AM
I am not sure if you had ever seen the movie ' Ho... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 8:22:41 AM
I have not seen the movie or been able to find it.... by Michael David Morrissey on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 9:54:37 AM
Mr Morrissey this won't answer your questions on t... by crispy on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 3:15:34 AM
financed, which exist only in cyberspace, that pro... by bogi666 on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 12:26:24 PM
Not a damn thing it would appear. I'd like to thin... by James Tennier on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 6:09:02 PM
I found two points particularly interesting:1. The... by Jack Flanders on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 11:18:03 PM
They were not but like AIG, goldman Sachs, The one... by crispy on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 3:23:09 AM