The Inflation Temptation

By Will, George F. | Newsweek, March 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Inflation Temptation


Will, George F., Newsweek


Byline: George F. Will

But first, 'dollars for dishwashers.'

Was this a pebble that presaged an avalanche? The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund recently recommended that central banks raise their inflation target from 2 percent to 4 percent. The inflation temptation is back.

Just 18 years of 4 percent inflation would cut currency's value in half. Furthermore, governments have neither the skill to precisely calibrate inflation at 4 percent nor the will to hold it there. But as an alternative to tax increases that would extinguish economic growth, or to spending cuts that would extinguish political careers, inflation--the surreptitious, slow-motion repudiation of debt--may look to elected officials to be the prudent, or least imprudent, policy.

Briefly pausing in his campaign for a vast new health-care entitlement that would increase the deficit by a trillion dollars over the next decade, Barack Obama recently created a commission to suggest deficit-reduction measures. The commission's Democratic co-chair, Erskine Bowles, knows bankruptcy: He was on General Motors' board of directors, a.k.a. the Board of Bystanders, as GM went bankrupt. The commission is supposed to submit its ideas after November's elections, naturally, but it could issue a seven-word recommendation right now: Stop doing almost everything you are doing.

The administration will spend $289 billion of the "stimulus" money during the next nine years, when, the administration says, the economy will be humming. The administration projects that between 2011 and 2019, the economy will be growing faster than the norm since 1945.

To make amends for his damaging disparagements of business conventions in Las Vegas, Obama went there shortly after announcing the deficit commission and announced a $1.5 billion program for housing aid targeted at a few states, including Nevada. That is a paltry sum--a rounding error relative to Obama's grander undertakings--as is the 10-times-larger $15 billion House-passed jobs bill. Both are trivial interventions in the nation's $13.2 trillion economy, but both also are emblematic of the fact that the deficit has no inhibiting effect on the president who created the deficit commission, or on the Congress his party controls.

Today's "dollars for dishwashers" policy--federally funded state programs subsidizing appliance purchases--aims to replicate the eccentric success of Cash for Clunkers, which last summer accelerated many car purchases from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the third quarter, at a cost of $3 billion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Inflation Temptation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.