By Katie Kieffer
Pump. Pump. Pump. Don’t you love that sound? It’s the sound of your heart beating. It’s the sound of your bouncy fitness instructor cheering your class to: “Pump, pump, pump it up!” But, it sounds best if you’re in Washington, D.C. – at the Department of the Treasury – watching freshly baked dollars get pumped into our economy.
Inflation is a term that’s tossed around rather casually lately. My assessment is that many Americans have become resigned to the notion that inflation is the ultimate destiny for our currency. Billboards, T.V. and radio ads for gold abound: Inflation is coming! You better defend yourself!
Yes, inflation is unavoidable to some extent. On the other hand – we could STOP printing money. We could do this if politicians would start listening to how concerned Americans are about inflation – to the point that they are stocking up on gold.
Inflation can – in certain contexts – be useful and positive:
- To emphasize a point. For instance, writers will often bold or italicize portions of a sentence that were not initially bolded or italicized in order to hone in on a point. The writer will then add a note to the reader such as, “emphasis added.”
- For humor. Comedies like Saturday Night Live, the Late Show with David Letterman and South Park are not news shows, but they frequently comment on the news in an exaggerated way.
The inflation of the dollar is neither emphatic nor humorous. The government should not be creating money and artificially stimulating the dollar in the emphatic sense – unless we want to be a national billboard to other nations that we’re unstable and lack fiscal understanding. Additionally, while a puffed up dollar is fodder for political cartoonists, it’s not very funny in real life when I’m shopping for real goods and services.
Once addicted to a drug, it’s hard to quit, especially cold turkey. Inflation – whether it’s in currency or in story-telling – is really another name for an artificial, short-term enhancement or drug. Inflation is unnatural puffery. It blows things up to appear bigger, better or more useful than they are in the long-term. In economic terms, inflation is an impatient man’s way to achieve the appearance of a solution when he’s unwilling to trust the markets to rally on their own.
Steroids and other drugs that inflate performance don’t help sports. Likewise, it seems logical that inflating the value of our dollar is a bad idea, but the rules of politics are always a little looser than those in the real word. Even entertainers, like New York Yankees third baseman, A-rod, are held to a higher standard than the leaders of our government. Sports players – professional entertainers – are strictly regulated by a government that refuses to regulate itself.
Given the choice, I’d rather have our government focus on strengthening our currency than cracking down on sports players. Take care of your own steroid use before you meddle in entertainment, Washington: Your addiction to spending and inflation impacts Americans on a daily basis.