Fighting the last inflation war

Jeffrey Frankel  |  Harvard University  |  25 February 2022

In 1955, then-US Federal Reserve Chair William McChesney Martin famously said that the Fed’s job was to take away the punch bowl “just when the party was really warming up” rather than waiting until the revelers were drunk and raucous. Decades later, in the aftermath of the 1970s inflation, it became an article of faith among monetary policymakers that they should not wait until elevated inflation showed its face before reining in an overheating economy. Today, with inflation surging, they are developing a renewed appreciation for the punch-bowl metaphor.

During the decade that followed the 2...

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