Borrowing to get yourself out of a mess

That’s basically what governments around the world are doing right now when they’re supporting the banking system.

For normal people, borrowing even more to get yourself out of a hole can only be a short term solution and even then it only works if you have something else up your sleeve. Bridging loans are typically successful in this area because you’ve a house for sale on the market and will repay the loan when it’s sold.

It’s also only a short term solution for governments too, albeit the term over which they can get away with it is somewhat longer: typically several years or perhaps a decade. That “something up the sleeve” is mainly tax rises to pay interest on the loans that they’re getting and to start repaying them as well so we can all look forward to significant rises in taxes in the next term of our governments (perhaps even in the current Obama term as he won at a very unfortunate time). Other possibilities are asset sales of course so we can look forward to privatisations on a grand scale in a few years time although the unwinding of the various nationalisations of various banks will also need thought.

The other downer for governments is that borrowing more basically means printing more money which in turn reduces the value of that money which is why exchange rates are all over the place at the moment.

Of course, all this work is dependent on the banks returning to normal loan criteria and everyone spending money to get the economies going again…. not an easy thing to do when things look this bleak.

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