NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve began today to buy longer-term U.S. Treasury securities in a move some economists believe will end up “monetizing” the dollar, a process that could inflate the amount of money in circulation and cause serious devaluation of the currency on world markets.
The move comes the same day U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told the Council on Foreign Relations that the U.S. is “open” to a proposal by China to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency with a “super-currency” to be created by the International Monetary Fund, or IMF.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released yesterday a statement specifying that the Federal Open Market Trading Desk within the Fed will purchase up to $300 billion of longer-term U.S. Treasury securities over the next six months in what amounts to the a government-subsidized purchase of U.S. government debt.
To many Americans, the move appears equivalent to a retail consumer in debt using a Master Card to pay a Visa credit card bill.
“The Fed is monetizing U.S. Treasury debt in order to debase the dollar – to create inflation – in hopes of avoiding deflation,” economist John Williams, author of the Internet newsletter Shadow Government Statistics, told WND in an e-mail.
“This move also sets the precedent for the Fed acting as lender of last resort to the U.S. Treasury, if foreign and other investors in U.S. treasuries balk at upcoming auctions or look to dump existing holdings,” Williams said.
“The record federal deficits ahead mean record Treasury borrowings,” he explained. “Fed monetization of the debt eventually means surging money supply growth and much higher inflation.”
WND previously reported Williams’ analysis of the U.S. Treasury’s GAAP accounting of the federal budget deficit, which indicated the negative net worth of the U.S. government last year was $65.5 trillion in total obligations, a sum that exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.
“Because of the U.S. government’s effective insolvency with $65 trillion in obligations, even before the Obama administration deficits, the higher inflation caused by the Fed buying Treasury debt has the early potential of evolving into an uncontrolled hyperinflation in which the U.S. dollar becomes totally worthless.”
Williams’ comments were especially pertinent after Britain announced earlier today that for the first time in almost seven years the country failed to find enough buyers of £1.75 billion ($2.55 billion) of bonds as debt investors rejected Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s plan to stimulate England’s economy with deficit-financed government spending, according to Bloomberg.
International economist Bob Chapman, author of the Internet newsletter International Forecaster, agrees.
“This is just the beginning,” Chapman told WND in an e-mail. “The Obama administration expects to run annual deficits between $1-$2 trillion a year for the next decade, and we estimate that foreign buyers might only buy one-third to half that amount of debt. The Fed will have to monetize $3.75 trillion to $5.25 trillion over the next few years, just to buy the U.S. government debt.”
The move by the Fed to buy Treasury debt comes as China proposes to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
As the Financial Times in London reported today, China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan has proposed to utilize Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, issued by the IMF as a world reserve currency.
Red Alert explained in an article in this week’s issue that the IMF, with the support of the United States and Russia, appears positioned to launch a one-world currency at the G-20 meeting scheduled for London April 2, with the move intended as a last ditch effort to prevent massive bank failures throughout the European Union.
The idea is for the IMF to issue at least $250 billion in Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, to IMF member states, as a method of placing a safety net under developing countries that might otherwise have to declare bankruptcy.
The idea gained momentum last week when the Moscow Times published an article revealing that the Kremlin intended to use the G-20- meeting to push for the IMF to utilize SDRs as “a super-reserve currency widely accepted by the whole of the international community.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is on the record calling for the G-20 to support “substantially increasing emergency IMF resources” by up to $500 billion to deal with the global economic crisis.
SDRs are international reserve assets calculated by the IMF in a basket of major currencies allocated to its 185 member nation-states in relation to the capital, largely in gold or widely accepted foreign currencies that the members have on deposit with the IMF.
China’s proposal would require the IMF to issue SDRs to central banks of IMF member states far in excess of any gold or currency reserves the states have on deposit with the IMF.
The idea to utilize the little-understood and largely ignored SDR’s in this new capacity, as a sort of an international overdraft facility made available to bankrupt or financially failing IMF member nation-states, originated with Ted Truman, formerly a senior official at both the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury.
According to Reuters, Truman has returned to the U.S. Treasury for the past six weeks to explain his proposal to revitalize the IMF Special Drawing Rights facility with at least a $250 billion commitment from the Obama administration.
This year, China’s holdings of U.S. Treasury securities have jumped to $739 billion, up dramatically in less than a year, from $535 billion in June 2008.
China is clearly worried that its massive holdings of U.S. dollars are at risk of devaluation because of the massive deficit financing required by the Obama administration’s proposed $3.7 trillion budget, on top of the administration’s deficit-financed $787 billion economic stimulus plan and $410 billion omnibus funding bill passed by Congress in the last two months.
China currently holds approximately $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, the most any nation has ever held in the history of the world. The reserves have been gained largely by the positive balance of trade China has enjoyed exporting cheap goods to the U.S. since 2000, when President Bill Clinton signed a landmark bill granting permanent normalized trade relations status to China to accommodate the communist nation’s entrance into the World Trade Organization.