Surf on over to Power Line and you'll see an interesting business opportunity tucked in among the sidebar blogads. BetonIraq.com offers the savvy investor a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase the Iraqi Dinar (IQD) at rock-bottom prices and invest in the future of a free and democratic Iraq at the same time.
Sounds like a pretty cool deal, no? Even liberals might be interested, seeing as how it bypasses Rumsfeld's gang and goes right to the struggling nascent democracy itself. The blogad pitch seems convincing, too:
With yet another successful election, time may be running out to buy the New Iraqi Dinar before it hits the open market.
It's now unbelievably affordable. The same amount that was once equal to over $82,000 can now be purchased for around $45. But, what happens when the oil really starts to flow?
Hot dog! Click on the BetonIraq link and you get even more information, interspersed with photos of voting Iraqis, Iraqis waving American flags, Iraqis hugging American soldiers—you get the idea.
Before the Gulf War (part one), goes the pitch, the IQD was valued at over $3. Now it has fallen to a fraction of a penny. "Can Iraq's economy achieve, in a free market, what it once achieved under a brutal dictatorship?" Think that's questionable? You need go no further than the right sidebar to a set of "Beyond the Headlines" links. "Is anything good happening in Iraq? Much! Follow these links to see beyond the headlines, and discover the true Iraqi spirit of progress."
The problem? BetonIraq.com is, if not a total scam, at least an incredibly dubious investment. The pre-Gulf War dinar was "worth" $3.22 because that's what Saddam Hussein set its value at in 1982. Like the ruble of Soviet days, the IQD was not traded in free markets, so this previous "value" had no bearing in reality and was never tested on the open market.
XE.com, one of the biggest currency exchange websites, has an entire section devoted to IQD scams, and warns investors that "buying the Iraq Dinar is a high risk investment with a poor outlook."
According to XE, the current value of the IQD is tightly controlled by the Central Bank of Iraq, and for good reason.
They evidently fear that open trading of the IQD would lead to a rout in which the value of the IQD would sink to practically nothing. Consider the situation. Why tightly control the trading of the IQD if it is likely to appreciate in value? If the value of the IQD were to surge, this could be held out as evidence of a surge of confidence in Iraq's economy.