Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let's compare depressions

Walter Williams has a link to an incredible article describing the Great Depression's causes and parallels to today's fiscal insanity. This is a long article, and well worth the time.

snippet from end of article:

...All this raises many issues economists have long debated:
Who or what should determine a nation’s supply of money? Why do governments so regularly
mismanage it? What is the connection between fiscal and monetary policy?

Suffice it to say here that governments inflate because their appetite for revenue
exceeds their willingness to tax or their ability to borrow. British economist John Maynard Keynes was an influential charlatan in many ways, but he nailed it when he wrote, “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” ...

...Today’s slow-motion dollar depreciation, with consumer prices rising at persistent but
mere single-digit rates, is just a limited version of the same process.

Government spends, runs deficits and pays some of its bills through the inflation tax.

How long it can go on is a matter of speculation, but trillions in national debt and politicians who
make misers of drunken sailors and get elected by promising even more are not factors that
should encourage us. I nflation is very much with us but it must end someday. A currency’s
value is not bottomless. Its erosion must cease either because government stops its reckless
printing or prints until it wrecks the money.

But surely, which way it concludes will depend in large measure on whether its victims
come to understand what it is and where it comes from. Meanwhile,
our economy looks like a roller coaster because Congresses, Presidents and the agencies
they’ve empowered never cease their monetary mischief. ...

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