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For nearly twenty years, we haven’t flinched from our prediction that the massive debt build-up of the last generation would precipitate out as a deflationary bust. That is what we still expect, although we now believe there is likely to be a hyperinflationary phase at some point as the financial system implodes. But the bottom line is that no matter how things play out, America’s standard of living will fall more steeply than at any other time since the Great Depression. As for the deflation-vs.-hyperinflation “debate,” it is useful only to the extent it helps predict how mortgage debtors will fare as this economic cataclysm plays out. We seriously doubt they will be “saved” by the kind of hyperinflation that would put hundred-thousand-dollar bills in Joe Homeowner’s wallet. Imagine how mortgage lenders would react if Joe could peel off three or four of those bills and say, “Okay, pal, we’re square.” This scenario will seem particularly unlikely to those who believe that these economic hard times have been engineered by Masters of the Universe intent on stealing our property. Trust us on this: If there’s a hyperinflation, it is the rentiers who will get screwed most ruinously, not the little guys.