Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Imagining Hyperinflation Wonders

The Fed's indefinite QE of $85B/month gets me thinking about what life will be like for the average American in a hyperinflationary economy.  Ordinary living will quickly become prohibitively expensive.  We can all start wondering about the good aspects of hyperinflation to take our minds off the bad effects.  My imagination is about to run wild . . .

Americans will become much more comfortable with arithmetic.  Store clerks will be forced to recalculate the prices of goods several times each day.  Restaurateurs and their server staff will get to practice their math skills recalculating the daily prices of meals.  I think the baristas at your favorite coffee shop will get to use their overpriced college degrees after all.

Families will get a lot closer.  Retirees who didn't save any money will move in with their grown children once their indexed Social Security COLAs fall behind a rapidly inflating currency.  Three generations under one roof will be able to share cooking and cleaning chores more efficiently.  In low-income neighborhoods this could even mean four generations living together, what with all those unwed teenage baby mamas running around.

Household debts will magically disappear.  That $60K automobile loan your unemployed idiot brother took out to splurge on some high-end wheels will look like a pretty wise move.  He'll pay it off with a $100K swipe of his EBT card.

Daily life will be full of adventure.  Suburban dwellers can hone their survival skills by avoiding roving packs of unemployed youth on their way to the grocery store.  Once they arrive, they can haggle over barter prices for household goods they want to trade away for food while they stand in line waiting to buy rationed food at government-controlled prices.  Is there an app for that?  There will be soon but hardly anyone will be able to afford mobile plan subscriptions that charge by the second.

Becoming a landlord will be easier than ever.  Rent-controlled apartment complexes will go bankrupt as their owners discover they can't raise rents to keep up with inflating maintenance costs, while the residents stay put.  This means aspiring landlords will pick up multi-unit residential properties on the cheap.  They won't have to worry about run-down plumbing or wiring if tenants get fed up and pay for maintenance out of frustration.  What an adrenaline-pumping gamble to make for wanna-be Donald Trumps!

Our culture will blossom with waves of creativity and innovation.  People who can't afford cars or gasoline will stay home, dreaming of the nice things they used to own.  Artisans will create magnificent wallpaper and collages with dollar bills that have been hyperinflated down to nothing.  Entrepreneurs can convert abandoned malls and department stores into workhouses and barracks.

Oh, BTW, there will be one very wonderful outcome after hyperinflation ends.  I'll be sitting on a much larger portfolio after several years of preparation.  This sarcastic article is funny to read but it won't be funny for most people who live through it.  I may laugh all the way to the bank, or I may just snicker a little under my breath.