Pundits worry the mortgage collapse may push us into Japan-style deflation. That’s one possibility, but there is a more likely one.
Japan headed into its long deflationary spiral with a mostly balanced federal budget, high trade surplus, immense foreign reserves, immense personal savings, low unemployment, and high educational level. This buys an awful lot of flexibility.
The US teeters on a similar precipice, but with no net underneath: gigantic federal budget deficit, large trade deficit, high personal debt, high corporate debt, net debtor status, and uneven educational level.
The stage is thus set more for Argentina than Japan: banking crisis, hyperinflation, currency collapse. I’m not saying it will happen; only that it’s more likely than the Japan scenario.