Edge of Apocalypse: pages 172-176 (Chapter Thirty-One)
This chapter is actually quite interesting, because it reveals more about the intended target audience of this book. LaHaye and Parshall are not just aiming this book at RTCs, but also to a broader cross-section of various fringe right-wing groups as well as the military.
We have already seen the shout-outs and the code phrases from the anvilicously structured Jordan family in which the odd one out, Cal Jordan, is not “truly” a Christian nor a military kid, to the relatively subtle (for LaHaye-sponsored books, anyway) touches upon the fears of loss of American sovereignty, which is defined as having the right to be the worldwide Number One by any means possible. Of parenthetical note is that LaHaye was documented to have been a member of the John Birch Society once upon a time.
But in addition to the RTCs and the UN conspiracy theorists, the anti-continental-integrationists are having their turn. Let’s turn now to the American currency.
“‘Hanz, this is disastrous. Give me your take on this, will you? I’m looking at my screen right now, and the American dollar is sinking like a stone…’
Sean, a currency trader in a large brokerage house on Oxford Street in the heart of London was sitting in front of his computer. He was on the phone with the manager of the Munich branch of the same company.
‘I was looking over my open positions at the close of the day. The dollar versus the Swiss franc. The dollar versus the yen. The dollar against the pound…’
From his office on Goethestrasse in Munich, Germany, Hanz blurted out, ‘Yah, we see it too. The dollar trend slipping. Every day. But this is bad…there’s still time for trades today. We’ll dump our positions in the dollar. We’re not waiting…'”
CRAIG PARSHALL, YOUR LICENCE TO USE ELLIPSES IS HEREBY REVOKED. YOU HEAR ME? REVOKED.
Ahem, right, Where was I?
It’s not unreasonable to suppose that the US dollar would, after years of oil-driven trade deficits, high unemployment and high inflation, be experiencing a slow and steady currency devaluation. In and of itself, in a world of floating exchange rates, not much is going to be done about it unless the US government begins controlling capital flows.
From a meta- point of view, what’s interesting is that the rival to the US dollar, the Euro, is most curiously omitted from the above laundry list of downward trends. Why? The Euro isn’t the domestic currency of a small country, such as, for example, the Iranian rial, which is used mostly within that country. Even the Canadian dollar tends to be largely used wthin Canada and exchanged as needed for Euros or US dollars when we travel elsewhere.
The Euro encompasses nearly all of Europe at this point, and certainly by the projected year of this book, it’s doubtful that, for example, the Serbian dinar would still be in use.
So, a curious omission. Perhaps LaHaye and Parshall have such strong distaste for Europe that they want to telegraph their dislike of currency unions in this manner?
Economists have their own reasons for objecting to currency unions, mainly due to the loss of a domestic policy tool, which is to let the international value of the currency drop freely in response to expansionary fiscal and monetary policy. An example commonly cited of the usefulness of this was the UK Pound Sterling’s withdrawal from the ERM (Exchange Rate Mechanism), permitting it to freely float against the Deutsche Mark. The UK experienced a mild economic boom over the next year because the UK central bank could lower interest rates without worrying about the value of the currency.
But in LaHaye’s world, such currency unions carry a more sinister meaning than the question of whether it’s a good policy for a government: they represent stage N (exactly where placed in the timetable of events leading up to the End Times is a matter of some debate) in the range from zero to N + some arbitrary number, of a sequence of events which, if followed as laid out in Revelation, will lead to the return of Jesus Christ to Earth.
With that aside in mind, let’s keep moving as we follow the US government’s reaction to a sudden worsening of the trend in the US dollar. The book indicates that a carry trade has existed in the US dollar, similar to the yen carry trade; since this typically takes place when interest rates have been forced to zero or near zero for a long time in one currency (as has been the case for the Japanese Yen), you can borrow cheaply in one currency, and lend it out elsewhere and make a tidy profit doing so.
Incidentally, economists will point out that purposely pushing interest rates very low is an inflationary policy. Given that the book has already indicated the imposition of selective price controls and a well-hidden deliberate program of monkeying with the US economy (actually, why the US government would purposely keep stagflation going is never really answered; if high inflation isn’t helping bring down unemployment, then the far deeper structural issues of how wealth and income are distributed and really, the nature of work itself, need to be explored), this addition to the arsenal of the US government’s purposely inflationary program would seem to be an exercise in foolhardiness.
“An irate federal official was making another call to the White House. This time the president’s chief of staff took the call personally.
‘Sorry for the delays. I’m very familiar with the treasury secretary’s urgent matter. But with the president’s schedule, it’s been virtually impossible to arrange this earlier…’
The treasury official wasn’t going to be sandbagged this time. ‘Hank, the secretary has to see the president. Today. No more excuses. If we don’t do something quick, you’re going to see our nation experience a financial Chernobyl. And I’ll personally see to it that the whole world knows that Hank Strand, the president’s chief of staff, is the one responsible. You’ll make Bernie Madoff look like a Boy Scout.'”
I had to chuckle at that contemporaneous reference to Bernie Madoff. The sense of urgency is explained:
“The assistant secretary of the treasury had called twice in the last two days to schedule a meeting between the treasury secretary and President Corland. But Strand had given orders for the meeting to be delayed. He knew Corland had been unable to make a decision on the issue. It was clear that once America headed down this road, there would be no turning back.
But time was running out. Today’s reports from the monetary markets showed the dollar was no longer treading water–it was drowning. Pretty soon it would be unable to compete even with the Mexican peso. American currency showed signs of a catastrophic failure, and everyone in the Corland administration knew it.”
One thing I might note is that the stagflation of the 1970s was probably made worse by policy paralysis due to the gathering storm of Richard Nixon’s potential impeachment in 1973 and 1974, and, fast forwarding to Jimmy Carter, a widespread perception that he was an ineffective President due to the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis in 1979/1980.
So Parshall is onto something here; an economic crisis can be made worse if the people in charge of responding have other things on their minds.
“Thirty minutes later, Strand was in the Oval Office with President Corland, who was on his feet and was pacing like a caged animal. The chairman of his board of economic advisors, who had been seated on the couch, made a gesture of rising to match the president’s position. But after a few seconds, Corland impulsively dumped himself back down into an upholstered chair. The chairman thought the president’s behavior had been increasingly odd of late. He looked over at Corland’s chief of staff, hoping to glean something from his expression. But he should have known better.”
Why, is that foreshadowing I detect there? Parshall’s all but waved a big sign saying “keep watching the President”! Just to make it even clearer, in case we missed it the first time:
“Fewer than a handful of people knew anything about President Corland’s strange medical situation. Strand was one of them. He thought if he remained calm, paced and confident, around Corland, that one of the president’s ‘incidents’ would be avoided.”
I don’t know how old the President is in this book, but my bet’s on a heart condition that’s being kept hidden, or a stroke that’s been well-masked and for which a doctor has prescribed something.
But now they’re getting down to tackling the issue of a meltdown of the US dollar, presumably precipitated by the attempted nuking of New York and the subsequent political issues surrounding the use of the RTS-RGS to deal with trade imbalances (or just an “it’s time” moment after years of persistent US economic problems).
“The president was trying to control his emotions. His face was frozen into a tight-faced grin–trying to look pleasant, but the resulting expression was almost ghoulish.
‘I don’t want to be the one who goes down in history for…you know…killing the U.S. dollar. Washington’s face is still on the one dollar bill, remember? The American public is not going to like this–‘
The chairman blurted out, ‘I think that what the American public wants is an economy that doesn’t look like Germany at the end of World War I.'”
Given that the US government in this book appears to have been pretty heavy with the “print money” button, I’d say that last sentence is a rather real fear that these people should have. The solution will be something similar to what the Weimar govermnment eventually did: demonetize the old notes and introduce a new currency backed by something a little more tangible. In the case of Weimar Germany, the Rentenmark was introduced, backed essentially by all the landholdings in Germany. It was successful in stopping the hyperinflation in its tracks, and was eventually replaced by a proper Reichsmark.
“Hank Strand wanted to interject an attitude of calm. But he knew that the handwriting was on the wall, and so he added soothingly, ‘Mr. President, the secretary of the treasury wants you to give him the go-ahead for the U.S. to begin the monetary conversion process. It can be gradual, of course.’
‘But not too gradual,’ the chairman added. ‘We don’t want a meltdown of our markets, Mr. President.'”
Not unexpected, but national identity is often tied up with a currency. The British are reluctant to give up the UK Pound Sterling, and Canadians would fiercely resist any attempt to adopt the US dollar or even form a currency union with the USA. Similar nationalist sentiments no doubt exist with in the US with respect to the US dollar.
So what, exactly, is this monetary conversion process? Replacing the old US dollar with new ones that have some zeros cut off of them? Perhaps an attempt to impose a partial gold backing for the currency?
Oh no. It’s far worse than that, in LaHaye-land!
“The chairman relaxed back in his chair when he saw the president coming around. ‘We’ve been in global markets since the end of the twentieth century, for heaven’s sake. Is it really so radical that we now become part of a unified global currency?’
‘And the precedent you talked about?’ Corland asked.
‘Yes, the International Monetary Fund. Right. It’s a little known fact that the IMF’s had the authority for years to issue a financial form of paper called Special Drawing Rights–SDRs–as a global form of money.'”
Some background material: Special Drawing Rights are a creation of the International Monetary Fund, and tend to play little role in our day to day lives because it is not used as currency by the vast majority of us.
Indeed, it was envisioned to have more of a role of the type that LaHaye and Parshall think it has, but for a number of reasons the SDR has never taken on that kind of importance.
‘They’re just like an international currency, Mr. President. So this move for the United States to join the rest of the major nations in adopting the new international currency–the Currency Regulation Drawing Order–the CReDO–as part of our national currency, well, that’s not that new after all. Besides, the CReDO is already a dualpurpose form of money. It’s being used in the paper version, yes, but it also is available as an electronic form. Like an international debit card. A major plus since the entire world will be going the way of cashless currency very shortly. Besides, Americans are primed for this. They’ve been making more purchases with cards than they have with cash since 2007. So we are way overdue for this worldwide system of money.’
By the way, this CReDO thing has to be the stupidest name ever for an international currency.
But here we are, ladies and gentlemen: LaHaye and Parshall, as noted, are aiming this book at the segment of the population that believes seriously that the US government plans to “internationalize” the currency, with conspiracy theories related to the idea of an “Amero“.
However, no US or Canadian government is eager to rush in, and Mexico, for its own reasons, seems to be happy to simply de facto dollarize in the northern regions and keep its peso for domestic purposes.
This is not to say that fears of disproportionate influence wielded by the United States on Canada or Mexico are groundless. As Pierre Trudeau’s “elephant and mouse” analogy notes, things the US does cannot help but have an effect on Canada.
And now we know why LaHaye and Parshall omitted the Euro.
It was introduced in almost the same way as the “CReDO” is: first it was developed by a regime of fixed exchange rates among the currencies of the nations participating, then it began to be used in cross-border and domestic electronic transactions, then finally introduced as a physical currency.
But if they included the Euro, people might go look it up and realize that their buttons are being pushed unnecessarily by this absurdly named global currency.
Nonetheless, this “internationalism”, symbolized by the giving-up of the US dollar, is introduced as a dog whistle to the segments of the US population that LaHaye and Parshall desire to be reading this book.
“‘Okay,’ the president said, ‘get our press secretary working on this. A series of short announcements about a ‘monetary enhancement.’ Something vague. That we’ll still permit Americans to use the dollar. That sort of thing. But pretty soon, the American people will see their dollars are worthless but that they can use the CReDO, and suddenly they’ll be saying, hey, you know, I can buy more with the CReDO than with the old currency. Right?'”
Funny how LaHaye and Parshall manage to portray a pragmatic, common-sense political decision to replace an old currency with a new one with a better perceived stability in its value as being a secretive and sinister decision to give away the USA to the United Nations.
And just in case we weren’t sufficiently convinced of that, check this last part out:
“The secretary of the treasury was scheduled for a 3:30 meeting in the Oval Office. President Corland would give him the good news then. America was soon going to join the new form of global currency.
By 4:30, however, someone in the White House, no one ever found out who, leaked the information to an underground blogger who ran a website called the Barn Door.
At 4:48, the Barn Door reported that the president had approved the U.S. disbanding the dollar and changing America over to the CReDO.
Seventeen minutes later, the big telecom Internet server that hosted the Barn Door blogsite, fearing reprisals from the White House, without warning shut it down permanently. So the webmaster for the Barn Door blog immediately called all the major news networks to complain about it.
None of them reported it.”
George W. Bush would have loved this much command and control over media message back when he was President.
I look forward to the discussion this chapter generates 😀
Next chapter, we’ll meet back with John Gallagher.