Ron Paul Explains to Keynesian Economics Professor Why Inflation is Bad

At today’s House Financial Services Committee hearing Ron Paul asked Laurence Ball, Larry Meyer, Marvin Goodspeed and John Taylor about inflation, the government’s role in the value of money, and the Federal Reserve’s monetization of debt.

Location: House Financial Services Committee
Hearing: Unwinding Emergency Federal Reserve Liquidity Programs and Implications for Economic Recovery
Date: 03/25/2010


Ron Paul: I have a comment for Professor Ball. First, because you made the statement that it would be a good thing to get a 4 percent inflation rate. That type of language happens to scare me a whole lot because I think it’s so detrimental and in many ways immoral because what you’re saying is, the purpose of the government is to depreciate the currency, depreciate the value of the money. And who suffers the most from that? Well, the poor people do because their prices go up. And the older people who are on retirements, they suffer a lot as well. The wealthy people seem to be able to handle inflationary problems a lot better than the average person and the characteristic of inflation is that you eventually wipe out the middle class. And quite frankly we do have a lot of inflation right now because there’s an inflationary factor in medical care. That’s the main complaint. Could you give me a brief answer on that if you like, because I want to ask Mr. Taylor a question as well.

Laurence Ball: Well there’s complicated issues. Briefly and very respectfully I disagree with what you’re saying. Research suggests that the effects of inflation are distributed fairly evenly across different income groups, whereas the effects of unemployment are very heavily concentrated on lower income people. And more generally I think just the costs to anybody of 3 or 4 percent inflation, there’s just been no documentation that they are important whereas it is pretty obvious how costly unemployment is.

Ron Paul: Thank you. For Professor Taylor, you have this exit rule. If the economy doesn’t get back to growth, matter of fact, stays where it is, or starts down again sharply like it might – some people suspect that the housing market is still in a major crisis – does your rule just not happen, does it not kick in? You don’t worry about reducing the balance sheet if the economy suddenly takes a downturn?

John Taylor: What I like about this proposal that I made is that it’s very similar to the decision about increasing or not increasing the interest rate. So if the economy languishes, the interest rate will not increase just as we discussed. If the economy picks up, then it will have increased the interest rate. My proposal on reserves, it’s very much like that. It’s tied into it. So that as the federal funds rate is increased if it is, reserves will come down at a similar pace. And the idea is by the time the Federal funds rate reaches 2 percent, then reserves will be roughly at the level where …

Ron Paul: Professor Myers suggested that there is not much left for the Fed to do. We can’t lower interest rates much lower so we get into trouble and the suggestion is we just need more fiscal stimulation and I think that’s correct. Well anyway, there’s a lot of desire for more fiscal stimulation, we’ve had a lot, and even today Chairman Bernanke said, “We are not in the business of monetizing debt.” Of course they just bought $300 billion worth of debt and if push comes to shove they do monetize debt. But wouldn’t it be safe to say that if a bank can get cheap money, 1 percent, 0 percent and take it because it’s available through the Federal Reserve system and they buy Treasury bills even though that might not go on the balance sheet, isn’t that indirectly monetizing debt?

John Taylor: I think the thing to look for in terms of monetizing the debt is how much the Fed actually purchases. Yeah, I think and it’s also it’s not an easy thing. Remember, we think about the monetization that occurred in the Great Inflation, it occurred gradually. In the late 1960s and 1970s, there was a lot of support for that inflation.

Ron Paul: Did Professor Meyer have a comment on that?

Larry Meyer: Well, I have a comment on a lot of things you said. Just with respect to fiscal policy, I don’t think that, I doubt anybody in Congress or there certainly would be a majority, who would want to have a significant fiscal stimulus today when there’s uncertainty about whether the economy needs it and when the budget is in such terrible shape going forward. With respect to a rule, yes, I use a rule to sort of follow what policy does. And the Fed is going to reduce reserves as it raises the funds rate, and that’s what Chairman Bernanke sort of emphasized. When as you raise the interest on reserves you could have manage the reserves very carefully, withdraw them to keep the funds rate close to the interest on reserves. So that’s inevitable and that’s really in the game plan.


  • steveo

    still waiting for the inflation bogeyman to show up? how long you been waiting, 4 years, 5 years, 10 years. and still…..nothing.

    CONSISTENLY less than 0.3%/month avg or 3.5% inflation annually. and you keep on, keep on, keep on saying its coming. well when the heck is he going to show? I see more evidence for Bigfoot than the inflation bogeyman.

    maybe its b/c your simple-minded, antiquated gold standard ridiculousness is just that…
    reason we didnt get sufficient increase in GDP to satisfy you is b/c -noone has a -job- and believe it or not, w/o money and expectations of a better tomorrow people arent going to spend. and w/o pprivate sector spending who’s the ONLY one left to support GDP? yea, you guessed it, that big bad ol government.

    what we didnt do after the W debacle was what Iceland did- cut the banks off at the knees, take care of Main St instead of Wall St. and spend, spend, spend. thats right, print money and lots of it……..

    oh but thats INFLATIONARY isnt it? Obama has run the biggest deficits in history. even bigger than doofus W and his credit card financed “wars”. yea, INLFATION will eat us up.

    well its been almost FIVE YEARS of that bad old spending and guess what? inflation aint NOWHERE to be found. there couldnt be a more perfect test case to prove whether your ideas are right or wrong.

    and they’ve failed utterly, completely and miserably.

    a smart person would admit they made a serious maistake and rethink their ideas. I’ll be waiting on your reformulation but not holding my breath….

  • Bill exousia

    Inflation is like another tax. It has been stated that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Usury is part of that destructive force. Jesus stated ” the unrighteous
    mammon will fail”. That would be the usury and taxes that bring about destructive
    forces that effect everyone. That is why he also cast out the moneychangers from the temple- usury and forced taxation.
    Also why he told the Israelites to use usury only on those nations that were around the nation of Israel – to slowly destroy these nations financially.
    Basically we are a nation slowly being destroyed by a Federal Reserve system that is neither federal nor a reserve. Go Ron Paul.

  • It’s like Lewis Carroll’s cocaine-addled Alice in Wonderland when anybody says “Free Traders” caused this mess, or Ron Paul specifically. Anybody with an IQ over Zero should realize a fact so obvious it’s indisputable. If a “free trade agreement” carries over 3,000 pages or even 600, never mind the some 30,000 in the GATT and WTO agreements, then the idea that it’s “free trade” is from the land where up is down, black is white, and anything the Big Boss says goes. Because no “big brother” is he…

    Like Ron Paul said, thousands of pages of rules for trade is NOT free trade, it’s managed trade.

    Free trade, implemented in free currency in a context of completely free exchange of goods and services is an engine of prosperity.

    The artificial plutocracy-oligarchy enforcement model like the Fed and the central banks around the world are designed to push the poor and the middle-class into feudal peasant status.

    Why do you think the George Soros pushed for socialism so much? Because it’s the road to ruin for anybody productive that might still have an economic base to push back against their tyranny. Or a religious movement they can’t control.

    Learn from history folks…


  • If RP would adopt Mathematically Perfected Economy (MPE) we would vote for the guy. But unfortumately he is in the Austrian School thinking camp and they will make problems worse. They in fact are the problem. Don´t be fooled by this populism people.
    As this is the very set of principles — and the only set of principles which ensure the immutable value of money across its lifespan — a perpetual 1:1:1 relationship between remaining value, remaining *obligation*, and currency in circulation — what is an “Austrian economist” doing complaining about the preservation of value of money, that they can take unearned and unjustified profit?
    Well… obviously, that’s the point of being an “Austrian economist” — and it’s just why they argue so ignorantly, and reject all accountable argument — because it comes back to their lack of principle. They are the problem.
    There is no mystery to projecting the pattern of failure engendered by any purported economy subject to interest. Everything around you can be understood from the obvious consequences.
    I´m not religous, but every major religion warns about the danger of usury, but the secular case against it is even more powerful. It is the most powerful centralizing centripetal force ever invented, and it steadily increases velocity to the point where life becomes nothing but a sprint in a hamster wheel to keep the debt system running.
    There is really only one solution but it goes against the most powerful interests in the world, it even goes against my interests to a certain extend but i am willing to make my contribution for humankind in general. Are You?
    Mathematically Perfected Economy (MPE)

  • Fred, I don’t what economic advisor you’re listening to, but you’re theories are all wrong. You don’t do much research I can see.

    • Fred the Protectionist

      Your comment is equivalent to, “your mother.”

      So I will reply, “Your mother!”

  • longshotlouie

    You’ve started recycling the arguments that were trashed last month, Dfens.

    Maybe you will explain the problem you see with Dr. Paul’s analysis, but that would go against your technique of bloviation.

    • Forest

      “Maybe you will explain the problem you see with Dr. Paul’s analysis”

      Maybe you should watch the video, the Professors did more than an adequate job in disputing Ron Paul’s purposefully oversimplistic rhetoric:

      Ron Paul: ‘I think inflation is bad and it hurts poor people and people on fixed income.’

      Professor Ball: “I disagree with what you are saying. Research suggests the effects of inflation are distributed fairly evenly across income groups whereas the effects of unemployment which are very heavily concentrated on lower income people. More generally the costs to anybody of 3-4% inflation there has just been NO DOCUMENTATION that they are important whereas it is pretty obvious how costly unemployment is.”

      With respect to his comments for Professor Taylor: Besides, shouldn’t he be adhering to the wonky Austrian definition of ‘inflation’ where it doesn’t refer to prices but instead refers to the money supply? I mean, when Ron Paul says there is ‘inflation in the cost of healthcare’ isn’t he just confusing his devoted Austrian adherents? Safe to say if any Austrian mentions that retarded definition again looks like I get to say ‘sorry, Ron Paul doesn’t even use that idiotic definition so you can’t either’.

      • gander

        i wanted to try to address your negative comments but your ideas were jumbled and poorly formed. I’m having trouble understanding what your railing against. form a more coherent statement next time.

      • Lost Knowledge

        I know that you really believe that you know what you are talking about, but for some reason you let your Paul hating get in the way of your critical thinking. Think symptom/causation, then go back and answer your own question.

        If you were truly interested in more than being an irritating troll you would drop all the condescension, bloviating, and Paul hating.

    • Obviously, Fred and Dfens don’t get why Paul’s analysis is on point with why inflation is so bad. They blindly continue to attack him because he’s right and they cannot handle the truth that we are never going to get out of debt anytime soon.

      • Fred the Protectionist

        If it were a simple matter of inflating the money supply, then where is the wage inflation?

        Where is the wage inflation?

        Where is the wage inflation?

        Where is the wage inflation?

        • gander

          it will come, don’t worry your pretty little head.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            It will come, well when will that be?

            The wage inflation sure is taking it’s sweet time getting here since the government has been printing hundreds of billions a dollar a year (sometimes a month) ever since the Era of Free Trade began in the 1990’s from the massive trade deficit.

            No, wage inflation goes hand in hand with price inflation when the government prints money.

            Where is the wage inflation?

          • gander

            i agree, wage inflation and price inflation are tied to the money supply and both will appear in the coming years if the money supply isn’t controlled. i don’t understand why are refer only to wage inflation. inflation crosses all sectors of the economy.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            Don’t you guys have a brain in your head?


            The money supply increased like a bajillion percent, and yet wages are stagnant and goods and services inflation has been in the upper single digits generally speaking.

            Gosh you’d think we’d have a Wiermar Republic situation on our hands right now but that hasn’t happened. Why not.

            When a government prints money like the Wiermar Republic did, the effects of inflation are instantaneous and proportional on both wages and the price of goods and services. But golly gee wiz here in the US that hasn’t happened. Why hasn’t that happened? Hmmmmm?

          • gander

            mv=qp. due to the current crisis, velocity has gone way down and a lot of money was destroyed by the panic. the fed responded by raising m, the money supply, to keep the equation even. there won’t be any consequences until after the economy gets back on its feet and and v raises to normal levels. then the inflation will hit everywhere unless the gov can reduce m in time. which would be hard for them to do politically, so most likely big inflation in the future.

            if they hadn’t increased m by that much prices would have dropped a lot which would have led to wages dropping also. the prevention of this so far has been due to the m increase.

            and your thing about high single digit inflation is a fabrication.


            cpi growth was even negative last year.

          • longshotlouie

            @ gander
            Does the inflation rate table, @ the link you provided, account for the changes in CPI calculations that were implemented during the Clinton administration?

        • Libertarian777

          stop looking at just one factor. There is no wage inflation, because, like you’re been bemoaning on the other topics, ‘free trade’ has ‘exported all our jobs to China’.

          We’ve exported wage inflation to China.

          However, I don’t ‘buy’ wages. I buy gasoline ($3/gal). I buy food ($2.50/gal milk). Bread ($3.50 / loaf).
          My wages are pretty much stagnant, but the cost of living (CPI inflation) has gone up.

          Not to mention the money supply inflation has lowered the purchasing power of my $, in addition to the CPI price inflation i’m seeing (all I can say is THANK YOU PIIGS for crashing the Euro at least the dollar could rally a bit!)

          And if you don’t know what PIIGS stands for… I’m not going to even bother

          • Fred the Protectionist

            “stop looking at just one factor. There is no wage inflation, because, like you’re been bemoaning on the other topics, ‘free trade’ has ‘exported all our jobs to China’.”

            lol, you have a problem with cause and effect.

            CAUSE: Trade Deficit means we export dollars for goods and services.

            EFFECT: US citizens will be out of dollars and forced to barter in Euros and Pesos real soon unless the Federal Reserve prints more money.

            The Federal Reserve doesn’t just print money for shits and giggles then gives it to China or Japan, or Saudi Arabia. What the hell have you been smoking.

          • Libertarian777

            it doesn’t?


            Could have sworn we had a deficit the last few years. so we’re borrowing money. so the fed buys treasuries and prints money for shits and giggles to give to these countries.

            Again you’re forgetting the earlier mention of the Ron Paul article where he states, we can export our dollars for these cheap goods and services now, but eventually it must come to an end.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            The FED doesn’t print money then give it away for shits and giggles. There’s a damn good reason why the FED is FORCED to print money, and the cause is your beloved Free Trade.

            Then the Free Trader (Ron Paul) who created this mess in the first place turns around and wants to blame the FED for what he caused.

  • Dfens

    Ever notice how Ron Paul sounds just like a mouthpiece for the Communist Chinese?

    “China may resume a ‘managed float’ of its exchange rate, particularly if the uncertainty of the overall post-crisis economic situation diminishes,” said Fan Gang [a top adviser to the People’s Bank of China] in an opinion piece published in the state run China Daily Friday.

    He added that any move on the currency would require Chinese policy makers to weigh the impact on exporters and avoid abrupt adjustments that would result in a “sudden loss of competitiveness.”

    However, the move won’t do much to help the U.S. economy, Fan said, noting that a stronger yuan would boost the cost of Chinese goods sold in the U.S., adding to inflationary pressures. – WSJ

    Now Ron Paul’s version:

    The imbalances in international trade, and in particular trade between China and the United States, have prompted many to demand a realignment of the Chinese yuan and the American dollar. Since we are running a huge trade deficit with China the call now is for a stronger yuan and a weaker dollar. This trade imbalance problem will not be solved so easily.

    If a stronger yuan is implemented, increased exports to China from the US may or may not result. The weaker dollar will lead to higher US prices and crowd out the hoped-for benefits of a realignment of the two currencies.

    One thing certain is that the immediate impact would be higher prices for consumer goods for middle class Americans. In many ways a weaker dollar would act as an import tax just as if it were a tariff. Both are considered protectionist in nature.

    The fact that the Chinese keep their currency artificially weak is a benefit to American consumers and long term is inflationary for the Chinese. – Speeches and Statements by Ron Paul

    So there it is, folks, the Communist Chinese only have our best interests at heart. They’re not doing this for their own sake. They’re doing this for us. And some of us, me in particular, are not the least bit grateful. Shocking, isn’t it?

    • Dfens

      Sorry about that Wall Street Journal link. I don’t have anything to hide, just a slip of the fingers, not the political bs you’ll get from others.

      • Fred the Protectionist

        “The fact that the Chinese keep their currency artificially weak is a benefit to American consumers and long term is inflationary for the Chinese.”

        ^^^Free Traders are such […].^^^

        • Gander

          there is nothing wrong with paul’s analysis. is it really that surprising that the communist chinese are implementing a currency policy that hurts themselves? they aren’t the brightest bunch. if these two stooges took a look into communist chinese history they would see how similar chinese government incompetence and poor policy killed hundreds of millions of their own people.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            Chinese protectionism benefits China, not harms China.

          • Lost Knowledge

            Mr. Fred, you represent the kind of short-term thinking that brings down civilizations.

          • Fred the Protectionist

            Short term? I’m no the one selling American industries left and right, so a bunch of foreign rich oligarchs donate money to my campaign. Or for some short term military goal like trading Turkey an American industry for military bases.