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From American Dream to American Nightmare

March 16, 2009
Taki’s Magazine
3/12/2009

Reality often bites, but news this fall of collapsing asset values and housing prices hit a baffled American public like a bombshell. After all, for years, so many Americans had been basking in the glow of their 401Ks and home-equity loans and generally enjoying the most prosperous years of their lives. Playing the stock market. Buying up Dream Houses with no money down. Going on fantasy vacations. Wasn’t that the American Dream? What the hell happened!?!

In his new book, Meltdown, Thomas E. Woods Jr. suggests that the American dream became the American Nightmare through the reckless, self-serving actions of government institutions. And at once, Woods puts his finger on the unmistakable “elephant in the living room”-the Federal Reserve System. Sad to say, other than a few assorted rumblings, there has been almost no discussion in the mainstream media of the Federal Reserve’s role in launching the crisis. But as Woods details, the Fed, which centrally plans monetary policy and interest rates, sowed the seeds of destruction by drastically reducing interest rates beyond levels that would otherwise have been set by a free market. “Making cheap credit available for the asking does encourage excessive leverage, speculation, and indebtedness,” Mr. Woods writes. He adds, “Manipulating interest rates and thereby misleading investors about real economic conditions does in fact misdirect capital into unsustainable lines of production and discombobulate the market.” This begins the authors’ explanation of the boom-bust phenomenon and how an artificial boom, and the financial holocaust it leaves behind, can be perfectly clarified and understood in terms of the Austrian theory of the business cycle.

The story continues …..

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