The Weekly Standard reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell burst into laughter while he was attending a briefing by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the administration’s plan to avert the impending “fiscal cliff” that threatens the US economy and financial markets.
This is certainly no laughing matter for investors. Not only might large amounts of our wealth be taken away by higher tax rates and closures of so-called tax “loopholes,” but we are also threatened by fiscal policies that could continue the devaluation of the US dollar and even accelerate what many see as inevitable high inflation. What may be even worse is that the impact could send the US economy into another recession in the process.
That combination of recession and high inflation is called “stagflation,” a phenomenon that we have written about from time to time. The last time the US was inflicted with serious stagflation in the mid-1970s, the stock market fell 45% in 21 months, the price of gold tripled and a broad index of rare coins appreciated by some 1,000%