The Federal Reserve, with its money-pumping machine distorting credit markets and interest rates, along with creating piles of debt among the citizenry, is a totalitarian and destructive force. The Fed destroys time preferences because it turns people into consumption-oriented, gotta-have-it-now debt addicts. The Fed has wrecked the housing market and turned homes into leveraged bets. The Fed has sucked people into revolving debt, student loan debt, and miscellaneous personal debt, all with the promise that the boom was never going to end. The Fed perverted the stock market, baiting pension funds, 401k funds, and personal investments, and thus has wiped out much of the wealth of American retirees and the middle class. The Fed has turned the latest generation of children into a consumption-only class who do not know of the production side of the market, nor do they care. The Fed has established a financial dependency on government that has destroyed the self-sufficiency of an entire generation. Today’s bread and circuses is tomorrow’s lack of saving, invention, and production. The Federal Reserve is a criminal organization and the destroyer of lives.
The latest victim of this system that takes Americans captive is the man who shot his wife and three children to death before committing suicide in Middletown, Maryland. He was $460k in debt on a mortgage and credit cards on a salary of less than $100k per year. The debt, dependency, and financial disintegration drove him crazy. Here is Guido Hulsmann from one of my all-time favorite articles, “The Cultural and Spiritual Legacy of Fiat Inflation.”
The net effect of the recent surge in household debt is therefore to throw entire populations into financial dependency. The moral implications are clear. Towering debts are incompatible with financial self-reliance and thus they tend to weaken self-reliance also in all other spheres. The debt-ridden individual eventually adopts the habit of turning to others for help, rather than maturing into an economic and moral anchor of his family, and of his wider community. Wishful thinking and submissiveness replace soberness and independent judgement. And what about the many cases in which families can no longer shoulder the debt load? Then the result is either despair or, on the contrary, scorn for all standards of financial sanity.