Tag: Inflation

The Fiscal Cliff and Policy Uncertainty »

In today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal, economics editor David Wessel has a useful column about policy uncertainty—worries about government spending, the expiration of provisions in the tax code, inflationary expectations, and the like—and its role in hampering economic growth by discouraging private investment. (The piece is available online to WSJ subscribers here.)...
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Robert Reich to Dems: Hold the Middle Class Hostage »

In a recent blog post Robert Reich takes the Obama administration to task for—gasp—trying to forestall “Taxmageddon”—the potentially devastating combination of expired tax rate cuts and new taxes slated to go into effect automatically on January 1. Mr Reich suggests Mr. Obama ought instead let it occur as scheduled: his strongest bargaining position would...
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Extraordinary Demand to Hold Cash—The Mystery Persists »

Since the fall of 2008, the Federal Reserve System has pumped an almost incomprehensibly large amount of reserves into the commercial banking system—about $1.4 trillion. In normal circumstances, this action would have given rise to hyperinflation. Of course, not only has no hyperinflation occurred, but scarcely any inflation at all has occurred, and policy...
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The Bazooka That Doesn’t Kill »

The chairman of the Federal Reserve and the President of the European Central Bank, arguably the two most powerful men in the world right now, have done what many people had been asking for—fire the monetary bazooka that will supposedly obliterate the four-year economic crisis. In Europe, Mario Draghi announced he would buy unlimited...
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Economists Testify on Federal Reserve Before House Committee Chaired by Ron Paul »

On May 8th, five economists, including our Research Fellow Peter Klein, appeared in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Ron Paul. The panelists included two economists from the Austrian School, two Keynesians, and one monetarist: Peter G. Klein, Research Fellow, The Independent...
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Inflation Update »

Conventional wisdom today is that the threat of inflation is low, despite the Fed’s easy money policy, and notwithstanding some economists in the minority (I’m in that minority) who see the Fed’s easy money policy as laying the groundwork for inflation. The March Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers were recently released, so let’s see...
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Another Sad Watershed in Fast Food Pricing »

We might define our time in economic history by the prices of various fast food items. When I was growing up, $5 could get you a feast at McDonald’s or any similar establishment—deluxe burger, fries, soda, maybe an apple pie or some fried chicken bits. I saw $5 as the upper limit of what...
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Likely Fiscal and Monetary Legacies of the Current Crisis »

I am not a prophet, nor do I play one on TV. Nevertheless, I will hazard some conjectures here about certain likely legacies of the current crisis. I focus on fiscal and monetary matters. In a future post, I will deal with regulatory and ideological matters. I will try to avoid mere guesses or hunches...
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The Fed’s Immiseration of People Who Live on Interest Earnings »

As I have noted previously, the Fed’s policy of acting to hold interest rates well below free-market rates in recent years has had the effect of greatly diminishing the earnings of people who rely on interest income. Such people include especially many retirees who do not wish to hold risky assets with substantial variability of...
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Taxes for Alms? Or for Crosses? »

In claiming during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday that he wishes to tax the rich because that is what Jesus would do, President Obama demonstrated he is equally confused on the teachings of Jesus, as he is with history and economics: The rich should pay more not only because “I...
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