I've been telling you for weeks to not be distracted by the "big news of the day" because it's usually just a smokescreen. But on Wednesday, I fell for it myself.
While everyone — including me — was taking sides on the AIG bonuses, something much more important was happening: The Fed announced it will pump a $1 trillion into the system by buying debt from our treasury.
Since they've lowered interest rates as far as they can, this is really a last ditch effort; it's like they put our entire economy up on the roulette table and the wheel is spinning.
To put this in perspective, think of America like a sick patient with a nasty staph infection. The doctors first try Penicillin to cure the patient. When that doesn't work, they try something else. And when all else fails they hook an IV to the patient.
That last line of defense was just hung over "patient America" yesterday, but we were all
— and that includes me — too focused on AIG to notice.
Here's what this means: We're borrowing money from ourselves to pay for programs we can't pay for.
And that's why the price of gold shot up about 75 bucks in 18 hours. Investors aren't stupid. They know the risks this poses, especially to inflation and our dollar.
So let me play doctor here and give you the diagnosis without talking to you like a 4-year-old: The antibiotic we've just been given has never once worked in the history of the civilized world.
Can this time be different? Absolutely, but only if we've got the guts to make some life-changing decisions; decisions that will force us to shoulder some unthinkable pain in the short term, but decisions that may just save this patient's life.
What do you think? Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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