Our economy is growing in spite of and not because of the current policies of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Treasury Department. Let me use an analogy to explain my point and then we will get around to the good news.

Our economy is growing in spite of and not because of the current policies of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Treasury Department. Let me use an analogy to explain my point and then we will get around to the good news.

Think of an athlete formerly in tiptop condition but who has in recent years been on a junk-food diet. He contracted the flu, which then became pneumonia, but finally he gets some rest, some medicine and stops eating junk food. He begins to get better. But his government doctors prescribe leeches for blood-letting because that has been the standard of care since 1929, the more the better they say.

Ever since massive government intervention in the economy failed miserably in the 1930s and yet somehow became conventional wisdom, our recoveries have taken longer than they otherwise should. Hoover tried some new programs. That didn’t work so Roosevelt did 10 times more and the patient nearly died. Consequently, the recovery that could have taken mere months instead took more than a decade of double-digit unemployment.

Fed Chairman Bernanke even now insists we suffer from a lack of credit and only trillions of nearly-free dollars (we don’t have) placed into bank vaults will cure the illness and get people to borrow, invest and spend again. Earth to Bernanke: The patient almost drowned in a sea of debt-financed dollars. The last thing he needs is more debt!

Instead of reviving demand with zero interest rates, the simple fact is that the Fed knows higher interest rates that are inevitably coming will cause the skyrocketing federal debt to grow even faster. It is the boy with his finger in the hole in the dike. In this case, the hole he plugs pales in significance to the tsunami that will come right over the top.

Imagine yourself as an everyday senior citizen used to making at least 4 or 5 percent on even safe bank money. You have $100,000 saved. Interest used to supply $4,000 or $5,000 per year that you spent on stuff for yourself, your children and grandchildren. But now you are lucky to get a measly $1,000 per year unless you go out too far in maturity. Meanwhile the cost of stuff you buy, including energy and food, is rising faster than your interest rate, no matter what the government says. I don’t blame you for not spending more money. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

But now imagine the Fed allowed interest rates rise naturally and didn’t borrow so much. You would earn more interest and you would feel safer in spending some of it. Businesses would not be so paranoid about a future train wreck. They would borrow money at relatively low rates instead of waiting until they are forced upward by devalued dollars and higher rates for government bonds.

The better news? The U.S. economy refuses to lie down and die even though it is weaker than it should otherwise be. It will continue to grow, albeit slowly and weakly, because federal borrowing is crowding out the private sector. Next week, I will give you another laundry list of evidence of positive trends for the economy itself.

Both political parties deserve lots of blame, but I hope and pray that the new, supposedly more conservative Republican group in control of the House of Representatives for two years will cut back on this foolishness. When this occurred in 1994 the Republicans and President Clinton produced a balanced budget. I’m from Missouri, so I would dearly love to be shown that result.