Monday, August 15, 2011

When everybody's a millionaire...

At the Indiana state fair, the International Hall was hosting a "Willkommen to Germany!" exhibit (last year was Japan; I'm betting next year will be Italy...)

The owner of Heidelberg Haus had lent the exhibit his framed collection of old German banknotes. Because they were behind glass, I was unable to see if they were as soft and absorbent as they looked, but I have a sort of sinking feeling that we'll get a chance to find out for ourselves before long.


Check out the five billion Mark note there in the middle. Just think how quick we could pay off the national debt if everybody had a few of those in their pocket, eh? I know Bernanke and Geithner have.

Hey, is that smoke coming off those printing presses?

18 comments:

Bram said...

Don't forget, income taxes are NOT indexed for inflation. No need to raise tax rates - soon we will all be paying the top rate and have our deductions eliminated through the AMT.

It's a feature, not a bug.

Carteach0 said...

Tam, I know the snark is strong with you... but this didn't even get a smile from me. More a sense of dread and doom.

Wonder if they sell colanders on Amazon?

Ecurb said...

You hear this a lot these days...
Yes, the monetary base has increased dramatically. The money supply hasn't, because nobody's borrowing.

When George Soros is holding 75% in cash rather than buying inflation-protected securities by the armful, you can be pretty sure inflation isn't an immediate concern.

Not to say there won't be asset bubbles, of course.

Anonymous said...

What keeps me up at night is worrying that prices will skyrocket, but our incomes won't. When the hyperinflation kicks in, most of us will be stuck with our pre-inflation incomes. The government will keep insisting there's no inflation, and depending on whether we've got a D or an R in the whitehouse, the media will dutifully carry that message (or not). Either way, there will be lots of turmoil while people adjust to the new reality.

Adjust is such an innocuous word, isn't it?

jf

Bob said...

The Deutsche Optik catalog currently is selling 80 million Reichsmarks in consecutively-numbered 10 million Reichsmark notes. That's 8 notes, if you do the math, and they want $75 for them. They aren't on the Deutsche Optik Website yet, but if you downloade the PDF catalog you can find them on p. 14.

Anonymous said...

Soft and absorbent maybe, but all that ink can irritate one's delicates...

As to the inflation concerns of other commenters, you can call it 5 billion, you can call it just plain 5; doesn't really matter if in the eyes of those you want to foist it on there's nothing there but a zero.

AT

staghounds said...

IF ONLY they were burning up those presses to pay the debt off!

For serious. 50% of the budget is on the tab- why not make it 100% and do away with Federal taxation for a year?

2.5 Trillion is a bit under $10,000 per citizen. Why not just mail those stimulus checks out?
Why not just pay all those bonds off today and start fresh?

What irritates me so is that the debt is increasing, the currency is declining, and we are getting nothing for it! It's like rent- no matter how much you pay, you don't own any more.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

What I find most disturbing about that picture is the fact that they're valued in billions but they didn't bother printing any zeros. It's basically the equivalent of a $5 bill, and designed to be spent that way.

If things keep going as they are, that will be how we do it, and sooner than we think.

"Wonder if they sell colanders on Amazon?"

Looks like they have a pretty good selection. There are several stainless steel models available, too.

Boat Guy said...

During my most recent trip to buy junk silver (when the silver price dipped to about $33) I impulsively traded a $1 FRN for a several hundred thousand RM bill. Soft from wear to be sure, not terribly absorbent though; still, a very useful example of what likely awaits us as Helicopter Ben and TurboTax Timmy are running the economy into the ground.

Anon E Moose said...

When I was a kid I inherited my grandfathers stamp collection. One of the stamps was a One Million DM stamp. One million Deutch marks could not send your mail in pre WW2 Germany. Scary, just scary

Bubblehead Les. said...

What's the current exchange rate for .45 ACP vs 5.56 Nato? I think those will be the important currency exchanges we'll need to focus on soon, IMHO.

Kristopher said...

Converting toilet paper into inflato-dollars ruins the value of the toilet paper.

Using inflato-dollars to wipe your arse results in ink stains.

That is just about the end-game in inflation, when the paper in the bills is more valuable as barter than whatever denomination you can print on said paper.

Tam said...

Like P.J. O'Rourke described the hyperinflation in... Argentina, maybe? Anyway, "People were throwing money away because it was cheaper than regular littering."

theirritablearchitect said...

That was one of your best posts, evah!

The snark was paradoxically subtle, yet forceful.

Oakenheart said...

Nah Jake, it's this one.
http://www.amazon.com/Mylec-Pro-Goalie-Mask-White/dp/B00017IGQW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313430839&sr=8-1
Some leather and chrome paint, and a bit of window screen and glue and you'll be good to go.

tweell said...

For a more modern equivalent, I have a trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe. A few more of these and I could pay off the national debt!
/sarc

rickn8or said...

At what point do we take the "money" out of our safes and put the canned goods in?

Ferret said...

The prospect of hyperinflation here in the US has got me wondering about something. I have a feeling that before we have a Zimbabwe-style monetary freefall, something would have to be engineered (purchased by the banking industry, no doubt) which would prevent people from easily getting out from under their piles of debt.

No trading a dozen eggs for a $100,000 bill and handing it to the bank to pay off your credit cards and the remaining mortgage on your house, for example.

I guess the banks will have to decide what they'd rather be stuck with - still rapidly-depreciating houses or worthless cash.