The United States has a history of valuing money over people. Pluto in the US (Sibley) chart is in the second house of financial wealth and resources, and the compulsive (Pluto) need to acquire could be its undoing. Transiting Pluto is square the Midheaven of the US chart, and this event will reverberate in Pluto’s natal house which in this case is the second house.

Not only are we spending billions of dollars in Iraq, but we’re also now spending billions of dollars to bail out failing banks, money that of course will be repaid by the taxpayers. And since Bush’s tax cuts have cut the tax rate of the wealthiest Americans, that burden will be shouldered by what is left of the middle class. This commentator says:

[T]he Fed might be fighting yesterday’s war, when the problem seemed to be a liquidity crisis. The Fed first lowered interest rates to facilitate borrowing. No luck; long-term rates were immovable. It then made funds available to credit markets for very short periods on attractive terms. No luck; credit markets remained frozen. So now we have the offer of $200 billion of high-quality assets to replace those of lesser quality. Tune in after a few weeks to find out if this has significantly eased credit markets, or merely created a bit of euphoria in stock markets.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s critics are saying that the enemy is no longer liquidity, but the threat of insolvency. We have already had billions in write-offs, and hundreds of billions more of such “marking to market” is coming. So steep will these write-downs be that the banks will find they are bust – what they owe to depositors and creditors exceeds the value of their shriveled assets. Unless they can get more capital, say the doom-mongers, they will have to shut their tellers’ windows.

So far, sovereign wealth funds have put up that capital, but even they do not have deep enough pockets to shore up the entire American banking system. Faced with a systemic collapse of the banking system, the government can do one of two things. It can flood the economy with cash, driving up inflation and the nominal value of the assets underlying bank loans. Lenders would get repaid, but in depreciated dollars. Fear of just such a devaluation has driven up gold to $1,000 an ounce, and the dollar down to record lows.

Or the government can nationalize the debt owed to the banks. Taxpayers’ funds would be conscripted, and pumped into failing financial institutions to prevent their collapse. Sound like … what 32 of 51 economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal say is now somewhere between likely and certain?

Encouraging more borrowing may have worked under the expansion of Pluto in Sagittarius, but it won’t work for Pluto in Capricorn. Americans are sensing the Capricornian contraction and tightening their belts. Folks, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

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