"Beware the Ides of March,” the soothsayer warned in Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.”
A Roman religious holiday, the Ides (15th) of March was the day on which Roman consuls assumed office — and the day Caesar was assassinated.
For the United States, and the world economy, the Ides will be around March 4 this year, predicted Grady Means in October 2012.
Mr. Means isn’t a doomsayer who’s predicted 11 of the last two recessions. He isn’t trying to sell gold, silver or freeze-dried food. He was managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and wrote well-regarded books on international finance.
And he isn’t alone in issuing warnings.
“We expect the bottom to fall out by the second quarter of 2014,” Trends Research Institute founder Gerald Celente predicted last October.
Because the dollar is the world’s reserve currency, America is, in effect, the real world bank. Soon there’ll be a run on it, though, because our massive deficits have eroded foreign investors’ faith in the safety of the dollar, Mr. Means said.
The run on the bank “will start suddenly, build quickly and snowball,” Mr. Means said. “Interest rates will skyrocket, businesses will fail, unemployment will go to record levels.”
It will start when we add “another trillion dollars or so” to our debt, Mr. Means wrote in The Washington Times Oct. 25, 2012. The national debt — $16.3 trillion when he wrote those words — is $17.3 trillion now.
The Federal Reserve Board has financed much of our debt by, in effect, printing money. This has kept interest rates near zero, which has been good for banks and the stock market but has clobbered savings and investment and slowed economic growth.