All Money In The United States Comes Into Existence As Debt – So What Will Happen Now That Bank Lending In The U.S. Is Contracting At The Fastest Rate In History?

Most Americans who closely follow economics understand that all money in the United States comes into existence as debt.  Either the Federal Reserve creates it when the U.S. government borrows money, or private banks create it when they use fractional reserve banking to make loans to customers.  If lending increases, it is going to create new money and increase the money supply.  But if lending declines, it is going to take money out of the system and will decrease the money supply.  So why is this important?  It is important because without sufficient lending, the U.S. economy will seize up and grind to a standstill.  Unfortunately, we have created an economic system that is fueled by credit, and without enough credit businesses can’t expand or hire more workers, individuals can’t buy homes and cars and there will not be any hope that the U.S. economy will function at previous levels.

If you will remember, this is what happened at the beginning of the Great Depression.  The big banks severely tightened credit and it created a deflationary depression.

Unfortunately, the same thing is happening again.  In 2009 U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in lending since 1942.  In 2010 so far, bank lending in the U.S. has contracted at the fastest rate in recorded history.  A “credit freeze” has struck the entire banking industry.  One indication of just how bad the credit freeze has gotten is to look at a graph of the M1 Money Multiplier.  It is now at the lowest point it has been in decades.  Why?  Because banks are simply not lending money….

But didn’t Bush and Obama insist that if we got cash into the hands of the bankers that they would lend it out and help all of us “Main Street” folks out?

It didn’t work out that way, did it?

Instead, the banks (especially the big banks) are reducing their lending, hoarding cash and shrinking the money supply.

If this continues, we may very well experience a 1930s-style deflationary depression, at least for a while.

Already we are seeing the effects of tighter credit hitting the economy….

*Federal regulators on Friday shuttered banks in Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Utah, boosting to 26 the number of bank failures in the United States so far in 2010.  The closing of numerous banks on Friday is almost becoming a weekly ritual now.

*The FDIC is planning to open a massive satellite office near Chicago that will house up to 500 temporary staffers and contractors to manage receiverships and liquidate assets from what they are expecting will be a gigantic wave of failed Midwest banks over the next few years.

*The U.S. Postal Service, facing a $238 billion budget deficit by 2020, is being urged to consider cutting delivery to as few as three days a week.  As money continues to get tighter, we should expect even more government services to be cut.  In fact, some local governments around the U.S. are considering bulldozing whole neighborhoods just so they don’t have to spend money on providing those neighborhoods with essential services.

So will the U.S. government come to the rescue?

Well, some would argue that the unprecedented spending by the U.S. government over the past several years is the only reason why the U.S. economy has not already plunged into a full-blown depression.

But of course all of this government debt is only going to make our long-term problems even worse.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that Barack Obama’s proposed budget plan would add more than $9.7 trillion to the U.S. national debt over the next decade.

That is not good news.

Especially if the Federal Reserve refuses to keep “monetizing” all of this debt.

During a recent hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that the Federal Reserve does not plan to continue to “print money” to help Congress finance the exploding U.S. national debt.

So if the Federal Reserve will not finance this gigantic pile of U.S. debt, who will?

Already China and some other major foreign powers have reduced their holdings of U.S. Treasuries.

So who is going to borrow the trillions upon trillions that the U.S. government is going to have to borrow?

Perhaps the U.S. government will decide to stop spending so much and will start cutting back and will start being more fiscally responsible.

But don’t count on it.

You see, if the U.S. government does not keep borrowing insane amounts of money to pump up the U.S. economy the whole thing could come down like a house of cards.

Of course it is all going to come down like a house of cards eventually anyway.

There are several ways that all of this could play out (deflationary depression, hyperinflationary implosion, societal collapse, etc.), but all of them are bad.

The truth is that an economic collapse is coming whether you or I like it or not.  We had all better get ready while we still can.

Why Situps Don't Work

Economic Warning! 4 Signs That U.S. Financial Authorities Plan To Reduce The Money Supply, Tighten Credit And Hoard Cash

More than ever before in U.S. history, American society absolutely relies on credit in order to function.  In fact, if you cut off all sources of credit to U.S. businesses, most of them would go out of business fairly quickly.  The truth is that when the money supply expands and credit flows freely, the U.S. economy usually hums along pretty good.  But when the money supply contracts and the financial powers tighten credit, it almost always means that an economic slowdown is coming.  That is why recent signals by the Federal Reserve and the major banks in the U.S. are so alarming.

But why would the financial authorities want to contract the money supply and tighten credit just when the U.S. economy is showing some signs of life?

Well, the truth is that nobody can read their minds.  In the long run, the massive size of the U.S. national debt is going to force a massive increase in the size of the U.S. money supply and will eventually lead to hyperinflation.

However, in the short term U.S. financial powers may see this as a chance to further consolidate their power.  There are rumors that they still desire much greater “consolidation” in the banking industry.

So how would this “consolidation” be achieved?

Well, a massive “second wave” of mortgages is scheduled to reset over the next two to three years.  If credit is tight and the U.S. economy is struggling, then another huge wave of mortgage defaults could potentially destroy hundreds of small to mid-size banks across the United States.

The big banks would be in prime position to come in and buy many of them up for a song.

You see, this is very similar to what happened during the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression, the financial powers reduced the money supply, tightened credit and hoarded cash.  The U.S. economy seized up and suddenly nobody had any money.  Those who did have money (the financial powers) were in many cases able to come in and buy assets up for pennies on the dollar.

Not that we are expecting an extended deflationary depression this time.  Instead, it is perhaps likely that they are planning a “consolidation phase” before they really blow out the dollar.

In any event, a reduction in the money supply, the tightening of credit and the hoarding of cash by banks is really bad news for the average American because there will be less jobs and less opportunity as the economy slows down.

The following are 4 signs that this is exactly what we are about to see….

#1) The Federal Reserve is in talks with money-market mutual funds on agreements to help drain as much as 1 trillion dollars from the financial system.  The Federal Reserve is reportedly seeking to “withdraw” some of the record monetary stimulus pumped into the U.S. economy to fight the recession.  But when you withdraw stimulus money from the system, what happens?  That’s right – the opposite of stimulus.

#2) There are persistent rumors that Federal Reserve policy makers are plotting a course for a series of interest rate hikes.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that the Federal Reserve may raise the discount rate “before long” as part of the “normalization” of Fed lending.  By raising that rate, Bernanke says that the central bank “will be able to put significant upward pressure on all short-term interest rates”.  When the Federal Reserve raises rates, this has a ripple effect throughout the entire economy.  Higher rates mean that credit will tighten and loans will be more expensive for individuals and businesses.  In turn, this will cause the U.S. economy to slow down.

#3) Recent data suggests that there has been a substantial drop in the “real” M3 money supply, and every time that this has happened in the past it has resulted in a drop in economic activity.  In fact, this contraction in the money supply has some economic analysts now saying that it is not a matter of “if” we will have a “double-dip” recession, but of “when” it will occur.

#4) There are also signs that the major U.S. banks are now hoarding cash.  In fact, the biggest banks in the U.S. cut their collective small business lending balance by another $1 billion in November 2009.  That drop was the seventh monthly decline in a row.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the collapse of the U.S. dollar will be put off for a little while but that the U.S. economy is in for some hard times ahead.

More people are going to lose their jobs and more people are going to lose their homes.

Eventually though, after this apparent “consolidation phase” is over, the U.S. government and the financial powers will swoop in with another round of bailouts and another round of “stimulus packages” to save the day.  Once again they will be hailed as heroes and saviors.

And this current “consolidation phase” does not change the long term forecast at all.  Eventually the U.S. dollar will collapse and the United States will experience hyperinflation in one form or another.

Just not yet.