There are enough doomsayers out there calling for hyperinflation. A recent fair assessment of the situation can be found here that is in rather clear eyed terms and an even tone. This is not as bombastic as the Shadowstats guys calling for hyperinflation any minute now... for a decade straight. This is also explicit about it being hyperinflation, which is different than others who see a period of 10-20% inflation coming that would be enough to feel like hyperinflation. It is a good read and a bit nerdy. Check it out, but the question is a good one, could it happen here?
One major thing to remember about hyperinflation is that you basically tear up any long term contracts you had. Your money management skills will be put to the test, not monthly or weekly but daily. It is a horrible situation. The wealth holders of America will not let that happen. Even if the USG hates the citizenry and only cares about its survival, it would not risk hyperinflation. In a hyperinflation, how are they going to pay their lackeys and janissaries? I do not think it happens, but something else bad will happen because as posed in the essay above, I lean towards the American economy is more house of cards today. We do not need hyperinflation for horrible pain. Sustained inflation of 10-20% will crush people because we have seen stagnant wages for decades now. The media will harp on the stagnant wages and income to the 1%, but never discuss the asset bubble focus on our economy since 1980. He who holds the asset gets the gains.
Not to sound like a song stuck on repeat but old productive economy business cycles saw wage inflation on a loop. This was partly the power of unions and partly the lack of foreign manufacturing development. It was also partly how our economy was geared: manufacturing vs. financial. Inflation would go through wages, pushing up prices but still rewarding worker productivity. Our FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) economy recessions are due to asset bubbles being blown, then the investment cycle is hooked into that asset group, the economy grows due to that asset boom and malinvestment, then the bust comes. Wages do not inflate in an asset boom, the asset's value inflates, sending inflated wealth to asset holders. This is why 10-20% inflation for three to four years would crush Americans. Inflation makes the debt worth less, sure, but only if Americans see their wages rise with inflation. How is that going to happen? What mechanism is in place to make sure that happens? I do not see it, and raising the minimum wage to $15 will only lead to automation, immigration substitution and more unemployed Americans (sorry Unz, reduce your autism).
The fear should be that we see that type of inflation with no accompanying increase in wages. The debt remains, the dollars are worth less, but no one has the boost in earnings to make the inflate the debt away program work. You will then have a giant debt overhang with toilet paper dollars. If you go the "print dem dollars for helicopter drops" route, then hyperinflation will come and lead to a greater unraveling. A FED funded tax cut could happen, which would be akin to helicopter drops, but not straight money letters with expiration dates. Psst, FED, why not write down the debt? Oh wait, you work for the TBTF bankster crew, sorry, my apologies.
Unmentioned in the link but a player in the inflation or hyperinflation game is the idea that non-dollar players will find a way to outbid the US for raw materials. The dollar is the reserve currency! Sure, but what backs the dollar? The US army. When people don't fear our guns, that military backing will not matter. What could possibly be a rival for alternative, lesser currencies to lean on to lure raw producers away? Losing that bidding war or even just pushing the cost up for raw materials would lead to pain in America. Because Russia and China are building a separate system and are hoarding gold, the resource providers in the middle might want something that holds value in exchange for their products. This happened before in the early '70s. It can happen again, but we have already created the petrodollar so I do not know what USG can do for an encore. Tick tock dollar pimps.