Bernanke faces a Sisyphean task because US banks are experiencing debt deflation and, because lending is now at much lower levels, monetary deflation is encumbering the domestic US economy as existing debts continue to be serviced. Government deficit spending can only offset lower consumer spending to a degree, and the mushrooming debt of the US government raises the question of whether the US can repay or roll over its debt obligations, given that tax receipts are likely to fall.

In terms of monetary policy, Mr. Bernanke faces an impossible choice. With interest rates near 0% and with unprecedented government debt and deficit spending beyond sustainable levels there is a clear risk of high inflation or hyperinflation if inflationary forces are not counterbalanced with a heavy hand.

In theory, high inflation or hyperinflation could be prevented by restricting the flow of money and credit to consumers and businesses. Such a policy would exert deflationary pressure on the US dollar within the domestic US economy since principal and interest payments on existing debt would drain money from circulation.

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