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June 22, 2007

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Unveils Extraordinary Plan To Increase Citizens' Wealth By 1.5 Million Percent

Hyperinflation -- catch the fever!

John Edwards is said to be "impressed" with the plan, but wants "to consider it more." He worries that the plan could have the side-effect of actually increasing income disparity between the "Two Americas," separating the impoverished billionaires from the "fat-cat" quintillionaires.

Zimbabwe's inflation will rocket to 1.5m% before the end of the year, the US ambassador to Harare predicted yesterday, forecasting massive disruption and instability that will drive President Robert Mugabe from office.

In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Christopher Dell said prices were going up twice a day, sapping popular confidence in a government which is now "committing regime change on itself".

"I believe inflation will hit 1.5m% by the end of 2007, if not before," Mr Dell said. "I know that sounds stratospheric but, looking at the way things are going, I believe it is a modest forecast."

Zimbabwe's official inflation is 4,500% but independent economists and retailers say it is really above 11,000% and picking up speed. The black market rate for the Zimbabwean dollar has slumped, from Z$160,000 to the pound last week to more than Z$400,000. It collapsed further yesterday, tumbling to more than Z$300,000 to the dollar. The official rate is fixed at just Z$250. Mr Mugabe insists that the Zimbabwe currency must not be devalued.

"Prices are going up twice a day, in some cases doubling several times a week," said Mr Dell, who is approaching the end of his posting to Zimbabwe. "It destabilises everything. People have completely lost faith in the currency and that means they have lost faith in the government that issues it.

It's amusing that Zimbabwe's dishonest hacks lowball the rate of inflation, down to a mere 4,500%.

Here a Zimbabwean woman holds bread, and the pile of nearly worthless cash needed to buy it:

Incidentally, she's one of the grassroots opponents of comprehensive immigration reform. She says that illegal aliens have depressed Zimbabwean workers' wages from the robust growth of 17,000% p.a. down to a paltry 11,000% p.a., barely enough to keep pace with inflation.

Thanks to the always interesting Pajamas Media, which is like Drudge, except Pajamas Media covers bloggers from time to time instead of hailstorms and "FREAK" six-legged frogs.


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