Bob Murphy ponders varying definitions of “inflation. ” A slice (original emphasis):
I think most free-market economists like to say things like:
“The government has three ways it can finance its spending: taxation, borrowing, and inflation.”
“Inflation acts as a tax, but a hidden one.”
Well guess what kids, those statements only work if you use inflation to mean “increasing the quantity of money.” Because the government can’t finance a deficit through rising prices. Nope, a government can finance a deficit by printing more money.
Here’s George Will on the politics of tax simplification . His ending is especially good:
Since the 1986 simplification, the code has been re-complicated more than 15,000 times at the behest of Americans who simultaneously praise the principle of simplification. All other taxes could be abolished if we could tax the nation’s cognitive dissonance.
Indeed. And more generally, if economic ignorance could ever be transformed by some creative entrepreneur into a natural resource, the poorest person on earth would soon enjoy a material standard of living that would make Bill Gates’s current standard of living practically indistinguishable from the standard of living suffered today by the most poverty-trapped person in Mississippi or even Mozambique.