Hedging Against a Dollar Decline

Includes: SPY
by: Logical Thought

Many of you saw last week's Congressional hearing during which Representative Ron Paul asked Fed Chairman Bernanke "Is gold money?" and Bernanke said it isn't. (For those of you who missed this terrific exchange, you can watch it here.)

If I were Ron Paul, when Helicopter Ben said gold ISN'T money, I would have said: "Really? Then let's say you have a house on the market right now for $1 million and I offer you 1000 ounces of gold for it. Would you take it?"

If Bernanke had said "no" then he'd simply be proving himself to be the no-common-sense academic that I already believe he is, as 1000 ounces of gold can currently be exchanged for over $1.5 million. And yet if he'd said "yes" then he'd clearly be acknowledging that gold is money because, after all, "money" is anything that folks are universally willing to accept in exchange for goods or services.

for reasons stated in an earlier Seeking Alpha article (and, importantly, the comments below it), I don't own gold. Nevertheless, the Chairman's comments the other day made it clear that just as he doesn't grasp the concept that gold is money because folks are willing to accept it as a mode of exchange, what he considers to be the only true form of money (i.e., currency printed at will) can be turned into non-money if folks decide to stop universally accepting it as mode of exchange.

The fact that Bernanke appears to be smugly taking for granted the unconditional acceptance of our currency's current buying power makes me want to hedge against his monetary recklessness, but without buying gold (for the reasons cited in my aforementioned previous SA article). I chose to do this (even before Bernanke's comments last week) by purchasing a slug of far out-of-the-money SPY calls expiring December 2013 at a strike price of 210. I did this because if we do wind up with a dollar crash then ALL assets (including stock prices) will absolutely soar in nominal terms, just as they did during the German, Argentenian, Zimbabwean and Israeli hyperinflations. (Incidentally, this is why it's a bit dangerous to stay broadly short this market for an extended period of time no matter how bearish one may be-- and I'm very bearish-- on the "real" economy.)

So there are ways other than gold to hedge against Helicopter Ben's monetary instincts, and far-dated calls on nominal stock prices are one of them.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Additional disclosure: I am long December 2013 SPY 210 calls.

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