Anticipating the Devolution of Big Government
BY CHARLES HUGH SMITH
With the US elections approaching next week, as well as the threat of another fiscal cliff showdown looming, we asked contributing editor Charles Hugh Smith to revisit his earlier work on how the expansive Central State has come to dominate both private society (i.e., the community) and the marketplace, to the detriment of the nation’s social and economic stability. In this updated installment, we will examine six critical dynamics that will lead to the devolution of Peak Government.
In a misguided attempt to maintain an unsustainable Status Quo, the Federal government is borrowing unprecedented amounts of money that then must be serviced. And the Federal Reserve is expanding its balance sheet by trillions of dollars (“printing money”) and intervening in stock, bond, and other markets for the purposes of managing perception (“the recovery is here!”)
These government funds are not just paying the government’s bills – they are being used to guarantee loans and mortgages that subsequently enter default, transferring what was private debt to the public and subsidizing politically powerful special interests.
Guarantees and subsidies both incentivize what is known as moral hazard: the separation of risk from consequence. This can be summarized very simply. People who are not exposed to risk act completely differently than those who are exposed to risk. When risk has been transferred to the taxpayers by guarantees, give-aways, and subsidies, then speculation and mal-investment are incentivized. If the bet pays off, I get to keep the gain, but if it loses, then I personally lose nothing, as the loss is transferred to the taxpayers.