Vital Signs

Hitting the Wall

On October 8, Americans awoke to government reports that the domestic economy had shed another 95,000 jobs in September.  Despite the billions of dollars mailed to select citizens in the form of stimulus checks and the politicized bailouts of protected industries, U.S. policymakers have failed to resuscitate the moribund economy or coax unemployment down from its ten-percent perch.  But Washington’s latest strategy for jump-starting business activity—“quantitative easing”—should horrify taxpayers because of its eerie resemblance to the efforts of Dr. Frankenstein.

Compared with this new stimulus effort, Mary Shelley’s chilling tale has a relatively happy ending.  Dr. Frankenstein’s flat-headed ogre murdered only three innocents before fleeing into the arctic snows.  By contrast, the viral effects of quantitative easing pose existential risks to the American economy, the U.S. dollar’s reserve-currency status, and the global financial system.  If you liked the currency policies of Weimar Germany’s Reichsbank or Robert Mugabe’s monetary skullduggery in Zimbabwe, then you’ll love the Federal Reserve Bank’s current flirtation with disaster.

The federal government spends more money doing things most Americans don’t want done—drone attacks on Afghani weddings, maintaining the domestic sugar price at twice the international market price—than...

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