By Antonio Graceffo
Apparently, conspiracy theorists believe that the US government went bankrupt in 1933. Someone posted a comment to this effect on my Facebook page a few days back, so I decided to research around and find the actual events that were intentionally misinterpreted to create a doomsday story, whereby the richest country in the world has been bankrupt for the last 80-plus years and no one noticed. I Google searched the story but the only media that came up were all sorts of unreliable sites that specialized in conspiracy theory type stories. One would think that something as large as the bankruptcy of the US would have made it into The New York Times or the Financial Times. But somehow not only they, but also Aljazeera, BBC, Wall Street Journal…all missed reporting on this major event, or even referencing it in other stories.
My brother is a scientist and he taught me that when he meets a theory he has never heard of or seen before, he applies the laws of physics. If the theory violates any of the laws of physics, it doesn’t need to be further researched or tested, because it is impossible. Using the same logic, I applied the basic tests of a bankrupt country.
Test 1. Currency becomes worthless: Not only is the US Dollar the preferred hard currency in the world, but it is rated as 600 percent more desirable than the number-two, the Euro, for international exchange. Also, there is zero talk of scrapping the Dollar, while the Euro may be.
Test 2: The salaries of public servants are no longer being paid: Obviously, the army, post office, and other government employees have received their salaries regularly for the last 80 years. And public schools and services have remained open.
Test 3: Government banks fail: Not only did government banks not fail, but specifically in 1933, and during the entire depression, the US Post Office bank was the safest place to put your money. None of those depositors lost their money. And those accounts continued to pay interest, while other banks closed their doors.
Test 4: Infrastructure investment halts and public services grind to a standstill: The Depression was the time in American history when some of the largest infrastructure projects in history were undertaken. Obviously highways and other public infrastructure are still being repaired and built today.
Test 5: The country defaults on debt: The US government has NEVER defaulted on a bond, which is why US government savings bonds and other bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the US government are rated AAA and assessed to be riskless investments. Although, in 2011, certain rating agencies downgraded US Federal date to AA+ (Excellent), this is still not consistent with a bankrupt country.
Test 6: The country’s foreign debt becomes non-negotiable or decreases in value: Most of the world’s governments purchase US debt on the open market and use it to prop up their own smelly currencies. (Try doing that with North Korean debt)
I absolutely admit that I am not a macroeconomist. So, the above set of tests would be more of a back-of-the-envelope test, rather than an official means of evaluating if a country is bankrupt. So, you may still want to check with an economist. Having said that, let’s give it the final test, which I like to refer to as “the gut test.” Basically, what does your gut tell you? Does your gut tell you that, the country with one of the highest standards of living, with the lowest consumer price index, high wages, with the highest level of adult educational achievement (12 years), and low unemployment…yada, yada ….is bankrupt?
And my gut says “What are you, nuts?”
Having said all of this, the moron who posted this on my page was an American. Where does this self-loathing come from? It took me about ten minutes to write this treatise, which tells me either the people who believe these types of stories never invested 10 minutes in their belief or they are ignoring the economic reality that while it is not perfect, the US is not bankrupt. But the big question I throw out there is WHY? Why do these conspiracy morons need to believe things that are clearly not true?
Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.
The Monk from Brooklyn, the book which gave Antonio his name, and all of his other books, the book available at amazon.com. His book, Warrior Odyssey, chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia, including stories about Khmer and Vietnamese martial arts as well as the war in Burma and the Shan State Army, is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey
See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on http://www.blackbeltmag.com
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