In Search of Cures for Inflation

April 10th, 2023 3:34 PM

WASHINGTON -- I have of late been searching vigorously through my morning newspapers for the causes of and the cures for inflation. It seems to me that most people whom I know are well aware of what causes inflation and what might be the cure for it. The cause is too much money chasing too few products. The cure for it is to restrain the growth of the money supply. The source of money is in Washington, D. C., and so I would have thought that the man to take action against the money supply is President Joe Biden. But Joe has already been consulted on the matter and he says the inflation that now is devaluing the contents of our wallets was caused by President Donald Trump. Well, maybe the present police action against the former president is meant to quell his contribution to inflation, but I doubt it.

Donald Trump only presided over an inflation rate of 1.4%, which strikes me as a reasonable rate of inflation. Under Joe the rate of inflation has averaged 6.2% for the last two years. No wonder his polling figures have him below 40% in most polls. Thus, I kept searching for a newspaper that gives me the cause of inflation and WHAMO. I ran across the good old Washington Times of March 28, and there on the front page was an in-depth article by Dave Boyer on inflation. Given that inflation inflames the minds of every Republican voter, every Independent voter, and even many Democratic voters, one might think all the newspapers would be covering inflation and its causes, but no, the causes of inflation were left to the Times. Well, the Washington Times delivered.

What is more, Boyer did his subject justice. His research took him all the way back to the 1978 lecture of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman delivered at Kansas State University that has, in this era of rampant inflation, become an internet classic. Friedman begins by saying that “Inflation is made in Washington because only Washington can create money.” What is more, “It’s always and everywhere a result of too much money, of a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output. Inflation in the United States is made in Washington and nowhere else.” What did I tell you?

I was not present when Friedman gave this lecture, though obviously I was aware of it, as I was aware of most of Milton’s seminal findings. He was, in his day, one of the most original thinkers extant. Though he was not a comfortable lecturer to listen to. He was known to disturb lazy minds.

Boyer reports Friedman’s closing observation in his lecture at Kansas State University about inflation being produced by “too much government.” Boyer continued, Friedman’s “audience applauded.” Yet wait a minute! Boyer went on to know that, “Friedman stopped the clapping.” “He said everyone in the audience bore responsibility for Washington’s addiction to spending.” He warned “The reason why we have too much ... spending and too much printing of money is because you people want it, you and I ... We’re citizens. We run this country. If Congress has been voting higher and higher spending, why? Because it has been politically profitable for them to do it.” Yes, Friedman warned those sitting before him in the audience that they were as guilty of creating inflation as the power wielders in Washington were, because year after year they helped return the power wielders to power.

In Joe Biden’s first year in office, people like me who believed in Milton Friedman’s free-market economics in 1978 watched Joe heave trillions and trillions of dollars at the problems facing the country and were aghast. Yet few people spoke out against Joe and the Democrats. Now we are facing the renewed pressure of inflation. Perhaps it is time to take seriously the economists led by Milton Friedman who gave us our last round of sound economic growth with very little inflation. By now Americans ought to agree that Trump’s inflation rate of 1.4% is healthier than Biden’s inflation fate of 6.2%. Though, alas, you will not find much encouragement in the morning newspapers, unless you read the good old Washington Times.

Glory to Ukraine!