D EAR HARRY: I recently read a book predicting that we'll have hyperinflation within four years in the U.S. The author's opinion is that investors will refuse to purchase U.S. bonds because of the very high debt-to-GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio of 104 percent and a $15.7 trillion total debt. He believes that our government will resort to printing more money rather than cutting spending or regulations. The book recommends that we purchase necessary items (such as food, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc.) before their prices skyrocket and these items disappear from our stores. He further recommends moving money to countries with debt-to-GDP ratios of less than 80 percent such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Is he crazy, or crazy like a fox?
WHAT HARRY SAYS: I hesitate to call anyone crazy. However, predictions of hyperinflation have plagued the U.S. for well over 100 years. It hasn't happened. I know that this guy probably said that it's different this time, but I can still remember all the doomsday guys in the past saying that this time it's different. It isn't. Foreign money is still coming here, even from Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians. It's demand for our bonds that is keeping interest rates at present low levels. Your author also seems to have forgotten that the government has taxing power to increase its revenues. Besides all that, I doubt that my tomatoes will last that long.
Email Harry Gross at harrygross@ phillynews.com or write to him at Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, Box 8263 Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.