Tuesday, June 22, 2010

U.S. Treasury to Issue “Two-Fers”

U.S. Treasury to Issue “Two-Fers”

By Bill Britton

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an effort to bolster the economy, the Treasury Department authorized the nation’s banks to issue “two-fers.” Beginning Monday, all account withdrawals will in effect be doubled, or “double-downed,” as Treasury Secretary Ben Bernanke preferred to describe the initiative. In an interview with NPR’s Cokie Roberts, the secretary said, “This program will double the purchasing power of all Americans, from impoverished A.I.G. executives to the illegal aliens who trim their hedges.”

When reminded that it could result in 100-percent inflation overnight, Bernanke replied, “Yes, that might be true. But just think: a $600 bottle of fine French wine would in reality only cost $300. And all that inventory piling up at Nieman’s and on Mercedes Benz dealer lots would be cleaned out. Plus I’d have to add a third shift at the printing office just to keep up with the demand for new banknotes. The impact on the unemployed will be tremendous. To supply the needed cotton for these bills, ragpicking could become a growth industry.”

This program is the latest in a string of proposals to cure the nation’s financial woes. “Look what the easy availability of money did for Germany during the Great Depression,” said Bernanke. “Granted, Germans were carting paper money home in wheelbarrows because of hyperinflation, but they beat the crap out of Europe in short order just a few years later.”

If successful, the two-fer approach might be extended to toxic assets held by the nation’s banks, assets that were purchased by the federal government for $1 trillion. “Why not offer these assets, essentially homes, at two for the price of one?” said Bernanke in his weekly press conference. “It’s better than having our highly regarded financial institutions go down the drain.”

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