Today American policymakers face a stark choice. Either, they can fight inflation by continuing to hike interest rates to generate unemployment and bring down aggregate demand. Or, they can employ a surgical approach that reins in the price increases that have been driving inflation, while encouraging investments to overcome chronic supply chain issues.
The current inflation situation hasn’t been about all goods in the economy getting more expensive at the same rate. Specific goods – food, fuel, cars, and housing – have been experiencing massive price shocks, raising the general inflation level substantially. Controlling these changes would require aggregate demand to shrink to unbearable levels for average Americans – essentially making people too poor to buy goods, and thus alleviating bottlenecks. Rate hikes are not only ill suited to bring down these essential prices but risk a recession throwing millions out of work.
Opinion by Mark Paul and Isaballa Weber, The Guardian, August 17, 2022