Inflation: An Economically Literate Member of Congress Talks with Two Economists

    Inflation is on almost everyone’s mind these days. Consumers are upset because it is gobbling up their budgets, while “progressives” are upset because they fear a backlash if people conclude that profligate federal spending has something to do with the rise in prices.

    Recently, Representative Lisa McClain of Michigan spoke with economists Dale Matcheck and Tim Nash about inflation, its causes, and cures. You can read their discussion in this piece published by the American Institute for Economic Research.

    President Biden can sneer that “Milton Friedman isn’t in control any more,” but that buffoonery can’t change the laws of economics. As Nash points out, “If Dr. Friedman were alive, he’d blame our current inflation on the US Federal Reserve Bank’s excessive and recent expansionary monetary policy over the last few years. I believe Friedman’s cure for our current inflation rests with the Fed’s ability to control and reverse its recent expansionary monetary policy. This will need to happen soon, as annualized US inflation at the end of December 2021 measured by the CPI was 7 percent, measured by the Producer Price Index or PPI was 9.7 percent, and measured by import prices was 10.4 percent. These are all at or near multi-decade highs.”

    Moreover, it is true, as Matcheck quotes Friedman, that “inflation is taxation without legislation.” Consumers are robbed of their purchasing power by the ability of Congress (in contravention of the Constitution) to spend money covertly, through the machinations of the Federal Reserve.

    What to do? Nash suggests, “Let the market determine interest rates and have the Fed concentrate on shrinking its balance sheet.” Exactly. The Fed’s low-interest-rate policy has caused terrible economic distortions and facilitated the prodigious increase in federal spending over the last decade. We are much worse off because of that.

    Read the whole thing.

    Content created by George Leef

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