Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

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fatFIRE
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Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by fatFIRE »

Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?

I know the prevailing thought is that America can always print money, our interests are so slow, and US is the world reserve currency. But what happens when other countries give up the dollar for say Euro or Chinese Yuan? What if we keep printing money a few months later, with another multi-trillion stimulus package because the coronavirus problem is not solved?

Or should this be viewed from the perspective that our debt is terrible, but other countries are even worse, so we'll be ok?
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by dukeblue219 »

Right now the most desired asset in the world is the US dollar. Seriously. Never say never, but there's no sign that the world will suddenly decide to use the Euro as the be all end all currency. Why would they? There's a reason we can borrow for 30 years at laughably low rates.

Second, a few trillion dollars is not *that* much money compared to the US GDP and the total of all dollar denominated assets (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financi ... ted_States). I can't say it won't affect anything, but I feel confident as a random internet poster that the USD isn't on the verge of collapse.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by whodidntante »

fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?

I know the prevailing thought is that America can always print money, our interests are so slow, and US is the world reserve currency. But what happens when other countries give up the dollar for say Euro or Chinese Yuan?

Or should this be viewed from the perspective that our debt is terrible, but other countries are even worse, so we'll be ok?
What's a few trillion dollars among friends? I don't think this is sufficient to cause a fiat currency crisis. A protracted tailspin that we try to print our way out of, sure. You can create as much money as you want, but eventually, it stops buying much.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that. I don't think there is a reason to believe in economic doomsday just yet.

Here's an educational animation.
https://brrr.money/
Last edited by whodidntante on Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by Cycle »

US spent 6.4T on wars in middle East and Asia since 2001. Congress can find 2T between the couch cushions.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by drk »

fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
No. And the concern is as misguided now as it was then.
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm I know the prevailing thought is that America can always print money, our interests are so slow, and US is the world reserve currency. But what happens when other countries give up the dollar for say Euro or Chinese Yuan? What if we keep printing money a few months later, with another multi-trillion stimulus package because the coronavirus problem is not solved?
There is a vanishingly small chance of a move to the euro, and literally zero of a move to the yuan.
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Or should this be viewed from the perspective that our debt is terrible, but other countries are even worse, so we'll be ok?
The debt is not bad, let alone terrible.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by SimpleGift »

fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm But what happens when other countries give up the dollar for say Euro or Chinese Yuan?
The two countries that matter most to the support of the U.S. dollar, China and Japan (each with over $1 trillion in U.S. Treasuries), would only dump their dollars if they saw their holdings drastically decline in value.

Plus, there would have to be a viable alternative currency for them to buy. The Euro is now the next most popular currency, but it's less than 25% of global reserves — and the Eurozone is arguably in worse economic shape long-term compared with the U.S. (e.g., demographics, debt, GDP growth, innovation, etc.)

Of all the things to worry about across the global economy today, it's hard to see this one as a big concern.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by steve roy »

One thing worth noting: the rest of the globe is burning through money faster than we are. So, you know, all things relative (and they are), the U.S. is in FABulous shape. Very good shape. Some people say MORE than very good shape.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by Cubicle »

whodidntante wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:14 pmHere's an educational animation.
https://brrr.money/
I'm sorry... what's happening here?
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by fatFIRE »

steve roy wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:42 pm One thing worth noting: the rest of the globe is burning through money faster than we are. So, you know, all things relative (and they are), the U.S. is in FABulous shape. Very good shape. Some people say MORE than very good shape.
Are there numbers to back this up? What metrics do you look for to determine relative economic "health" of various countries.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by Theoretical »

If it was a 20 Trillion stimulus or maybe a 100 trillion stimulus, then sure, the world would freak out. 2 trillion is a drop in the bucket.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by whodidntante »

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:12 pm
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
It's easy to understand if you look at examples where it actually happened. Like modern-day Venezuela, where gas station attendants would rather have a cigarette than money as payment. Even if they don't smoke, a cigarette will hold its value until they can trade it for something they need.

I know, I know. It can't happen here. Well, Venezuela was never America, but it used to be considered a prosperous country, maybe even rich. A lot of civilizations have gone through economic upheaval at some point. Some of them were really, really great. It's not crazy to think it could happen here, with some terrible luck, terrible decisions, or a bit of both. I just hope it's centuries after I'm dead.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by Oicuryy »

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:12 pm I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
It would look like the photos in this blog post.
https://freakonomics.com/2008/12/18/fre ... he-toilet/

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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by Thesaints »

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:12 pm
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
It is when you go shopping at Target and they want to be paid in Euro. :)
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by typical.investor »

whodidntante wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:59 am
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:12 pm
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
It's easy to understand if you look at examples where it actually happened. Like modern-day Venezuela, where gas station attendants would rather have a cigarette than money as payment. Even if they don't smoke, a cigarette will hold its value until they can trade it for something they need.

I know, I know. It can't happen here. Well, Venezuela was never America, but it used to be considered a prosperous country, maybe even rich. A lot of civilizations have gone through economic upheaval at some point. Some of them were really, really great. It's not crazy to think it could happen here, with some terrible luck, terrible decisions, or a bit of both. I just hope it's centuries after I'm dead.
At what point was Venezuela the worlds currency haven in times of crisis?

America’s currency problem today is that it is too strong. Did Venezuela ever have such a problem in a global crisis?

I wouldn’t argue that democracy and free enterprise can’t end, but an action that might weaken the USD when it’s strength actually weakens the US economy doesn’t strike me as a clear risk.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by APX32 »

Thesaints wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:45 am
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:12 pm
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
It is when you go shopping at Target and they want to be paid in Euro. :)
It’s when you leave the house with a barrel full of cash to go shopping at Target, but by the time you get there, you realize you now need two barrels of cash. Your cash literally lost half its value during your trip from home to Target.

This scenario literally happened in Weimar Germany, Zimbabwe, former Yugoslavia, and more recently Venezuela. I’m sure there are many other examples I’m leaving out.

The USD is safe for now, at least in my lifetime of next 50 years or so (I hope :D ).
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by SandysDad »

For the US dollar to “collapse” requires that another currency(ies) rise relatively speaking.

Which currency would that be? The yuan is not trusted. The euro has more problems than the US dollar.

So I don’t think there is a single alternative.

What I could see happening is some ‘basket’ of currencies weighted by gdp becomes the new standard for international pricing of transactions. If that happens it will be a BIG negative for the US Dollar.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

whodidntante wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:59 am
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:12 pm
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?
I don’t even know what a “currency collapse” means or what that would even look like.

Can you tell me?
It's easy to understand if you look at examples where it actually happened. Like modern-day Venezuela, where gas station attendants would rather have a cigarette than money as payment. Even if they don't smoke, a cigarette will hold its value until they can trade it for something they need.

I know, I know. It can't happen here. Well, Venezuela was never America, but it used to be considered a prosperous country, maybe even rich. A lot of civilizations have gone through economic upheaval at some point. Some of them were really, really great. It's not crazy to think it could happen here, with some terrible luck, terrible decisions, or a bit of both. I just hope it's centuries after I'm dead.
Ok so two posters said that “currency collapse” means massive hyperinflation, such as 10,398% percent a year in the case of Venezuela or 231 million percent in Zimbabwe.

(It’s important to define terms.)

The OP didn’t answer, but assuming OP agrees with the above, it seems safe to say that the stimulus package signed into law with NOT lead to 10,000% inflation by this time next year. Or 231 million percent inflation.

It also seems relatively safe to say that the stimulus will not result in Target accepting Euro. :happy
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by columbia »

If one thinks this is an issue, which currencies would - in relative terms - flourish and why?

Either way, here’s DXY:
https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/DXY:CUR

Is one seeing a pattern of concern? I’m not.
Last edited by columbia on Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by HomerJ »

fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm Same concerns as I had in 2008, will the trillion-dollars worth of stimulus package lead to the US currency collapse?

I know the prevailing thought is that America can always print money, our interests are so slow, and US is the world reserve currency. But what happens when other countries give up the dollar for say Euro or Chinese Yuan? What if we keep printing money a few months later, with another multi-trillion stimulus package because the coronavirus problem is not solved?

Or should this be viewed from the perspective that our debt is terrible, but other countries are even worse, so we'll be ok?
It's not going to collapse.

Inflation might go up... maybe... Lots of deflationary pressure out there too.

As far as debt, I hate the fact that we keep increasing our debt so much, but this is pretty cheap debt... Super low interest rates sure helps.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by vested1 »

I would be a little more concerned with runaway inflation should the following events occur, however unlikely:

- COVID-19 is proven to be resilient and adaptable, taking years, not months to defeat. Unemployment remains high indefinitely.
- CARE act continues to cover the shortfall in wages and lost revenue for business.
- All States deplete their budget reserves.

U.S. personal income was 17.6 trillion in 2018, with 2019 totals so far unavailable. In this scenario perhaps half of that 17.6 trillion dollars is added to the national debt yearly. Unless strict policies are adopted to punish price gouging on essential items, or a conscience were suddenly grown by those who choose to profiteer, the U.S. dollar decreases in buying power over time. This would be affected by the monetary policies of other nations who compete with the dollar.

To be clear, I think the possibility of this happening are extremely remote, but nonetheless not out of the realm of possibility, or at least a compelling plot line for an imaginative writer.

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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by Call_Me_Op »

vested1 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:01 am I would be a little more concerned with runaway inflation should the following events occur, however unlikely:
- COVID-19 is proven to be resilient and adaptable, taking years, not months to defeat. Unemployment remains high indefinitely.
Sounds just as likely to lead to deflation. Why would we have price inflation when many people are out of work?
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by birdog »

drk wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm The debt is not bad, let alone terrible.
Can you explain how 22 trillion in debt is not bad? It seems like at the very least, 22 trillion in debt is way worse than say 1 trillion in debt. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just trying to understand how that much debt is not bad.

If you think of a trillion in terms of seconds, it would take almost 12 days for a million seconds to elapse and 31.7 years for a billion seconds. Therefore, a trillion seconds would amount to no less than 31,709.8 years.
https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/28/opin ... 29186.html

Our debt is so high that it seems pretty bad yet I hear people say it’s not a problem. I just want to understand how it’s not bad.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by nps »

birdog wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:27 am
drk wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm The debt is not bad, let alone terrible.
Can you explain how 22 trillion in debt is not bad? It seems like at the very least, 22 trillion in debt is way worse than say 1 trillion in debt. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just trying to understand how that much debt is not bad.

If you think of a trillion in terms of seconds, it would take almost 12 days for a million seconds to elapse and 31.7 years for a billion seconds. Therefore, a trillion seconds would amount to no less than 31,709.8 years.
https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/28/opin ... 29186.html

Our debt is so high that it seems pretty bad yet I hear people say it’s not a problem. I just want to understand how it’s not bad.
What I am about to write is a totally inappropriate comparison because US government debt and household debt are very different animals, but since you are just focused on how big one trillion is let me offer this for perspective.

US GDP in 2019 was $21 trillion. You are asking how $22 trillion in US debt is not bad. Imagine someone making $105k annually taking out a mortgage for $110k. Do you think that's also bad?
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by nedsaid »

SimpleGift wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:34 pm
fatFIRE wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:04 pm But what happens when other countries give up the dollar for say Euro or Chinese Yuan?
The two countries that matter most to the support of the U.S. dollar, China and Japan (each with over $1 trillion in U.S. Treasuries), would only dump their dollars if they saw their holdings drastically decline in value.

Plus, there would have to be a viable alternative currency for them to buy. The Euro is now the next most popular currency, but it's less than 25% of global reserves — and the Eurozone is arguably in worse economic shape long-term compared with the U.S. (e.g., demographics, debt, GDP growth, innovation, etc.)

Of all the things to worry about across the global economy today, it's hard to see this one as a big concern.
If you believe the sectoral balances argument, Wikipedia has a good article that explains it, it is inevitable that the countries with the highest trade surpluses with the United States will also be among the biggest owners of US Treasuries. If your country holds excess dollars because of trade surpluses, it would be in your national interest to collect interest, can't imagine vaults full of $100 bills and $20 bills doing nothing. It is sort of like a natural equilibrium, not sure that in any practical sense that China or Japan could "dump" US Treasuries other than stopping trade with us, sort of like trying to keep water from flowing to the lowest point.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by vested1 »

Call_Me_Op wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:25 am
vested1 wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:01 am I would be a little more concerned with runaway inflation should the following events occur, however unlikely:
- COVID-19 is proven to be resilient and adaptable, taking years, not months to defeat. Unemployment remains high indefinitely.
Sounds just as likely to lead to deflation. Why would we have price inflation when many people are out of work?
Supply and demand. Fewer items for sale at a higher price. Even worse when those items are essential.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by birdog »

nps wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:46 am
birdog wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:27 am
drk wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:27 pm The debt is not bad, let alone terrible.
Can you explain how 22 trillion in debt is not bad? It seems like at the very least, 22 trillion in debt is way worse than say 1 trillion in debt. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just trying to understand how that much debt is not bad.

If you think of a trillion in terms of seconds, it would take almost 12 days for a million seconds to elapse and 31.7 years for a billion seconds. Therefore, a trillion seconds would amount to no less than 31,709.8 years.
https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/28/opin ... 29186.html

Our debt is so high that it seems pretty bad yet I hear people say it’s not a problem. I just want to understand how it’s not bad.
What I am about to write is a totally inappropriate comparison because US government debt and household debt are very different animals, but since you are just focused on how big one trillion is let me offer this for perspective.

US GDP in 2019 was $21 trillion. You are asking how $22 trillion in US debt is not bad. Imagine someone making $105k annually taking out a mortgage for $110k. Do you think that's also bad?
The 22 trillion is the actual debt that our federal government owes. GDP is the monetary value of all finished goods and services made within the country. If GDP were government income, I’d understand your analogy better.
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

Post by MarkVH0518 »

I'm confused about this inflationary discussion, both on Bogleheads and elsewhere.

My understanding of money supply, admittedly learned ECON 101 in the late '70s, was that money circulation rate
was the huge multiplier that had the most significant impact on the size of the money supply.
If monetary circulation halts, like now with retail sales all but stopped, the money supply shrinks tremendously.
In this environment, printing money is the way the keep the money supply constant.
In this environment, printing money does not cause inflation; it avoids deflation.

Allowing the money supply the shrink was the most significant failure of the government during Hoover's administration.

Do I have a mistaken understanding of money supply theory?
If not, why is the risk of deflation not a major point of rebut the those who fret about government debt?

Thanks
Mark
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Re: Is there a risk of US currency collapse with trillion-dollar stimulus?

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