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Pinkerton: What Inflation Does and What to Do About It -- from Someone Who Lived Through the Great Inflation of the 1970s

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Sample March 10 headline from the reliably pro-Biden New York Times: “Inflation Fear Lurks, Even as Officials Say Not to Worry.”  The article quoted Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, saying that the price-spikes were nothing to be concerned about. According to Powell, “There’s a difference between a one-time surge in prices and ongoing inflation.”   The Times explained that Powell “expected the coming increase to be transitory.” The same article quoted Kathy Bostjancic of Oxford Economics saying, “Outside of another buoyant advance in energy prices in February, consumer price inflation remains very tame.” And the piece also quoted JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon saying of inflation, “I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”Yet then a funny thing happened: Inflation happened. I don’t think it’s only temporary.” And on the 15th, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen allowed, “I think we will have several more months of rapid inflation, so I’m not saying that this is a one-month phenomenon.”  Still, she insisted that price increases will reach “normal levels” over time.We are all free to wonder, of course, why we should now believe the same experts who were wrong in the past.U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on June 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. What government is doing, it’s creating inflation.” And speaking of the big $1.9 trillion Biden stimulus package enacted in March, McCarthy, thinking ahead to the next midterm election, recalled: “It was passed just along party line with only Democrats voting for it.”  Bob Luddy, writing for The American Spectator, laid out some of the numbers underlying the new inflation:  Government spending is ballooning our national debt, which already exceeds $28 trillion. As he said on the 14th, inflation “will likely remain elevated in coming months” before “moderating.”Powell’s faith that inflation is not a problem drew a tart comment from Breitbart News’ John Carney: In a heartening demonstration that hope springs eternal, Fed chair Jay Powell went before Congress today to say that despite the Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index coming in much hotter than expected, he remains untroubled. But the public should “have faith,” as Powell put it, in the Fed’s ability to stomp down inflation if things get bad enough.And of course, some Democrats, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Maxine Waters of California, insist that inflation is nothing to worry about.Yet Republicans weren’t buying it, even as they were thinking back to previous eras of inflation. Back then, legendary TV comedian and host Johnny Carson was using his nightly 90 minutes to joke about shortages.Moreover, as inflation compounded with price controls to produce economic inefficiency, even sectoral breakdowns—such as the epic gasoline lines of 1973-4 and 1979—the result was stagnation, as well as inflation, which came to be known as stagflation. Reagan said President Carter has turned inflation and energy into national disasters and says the problems can be solved if he is elected president. And yet few surviving Baby Boomer liberals today are sounding the alarm, warning younger liberals–who have no memory of the Great Inflation of the ’70s, and not enough book-learning, obviously–about the tidal wave to come.One such warning voice comes from Ed Kilgore; writing in New York magazine, he called inflation “poison for progressive politics.”  And another warner is Timothy Noah; in the pages of The New Republic, he declared, “Inflation is death to progressive governance because it makes people feel that the government is spinning madly out of control.”Interestingly, both writers took on a notably resigned tone; that is, neither seemed optimistic that the youngers were going to heed the advice of their elders.

As said here by James P. Pinkerton