When it died last month at the hands of a sluggish economy and a Federal Reserve intent on maintaining interest rates at zero, inflation was thought to be several thousand years old — although a specific age has not been released by the family.
The immediate cause of death was this morning’s report on the consumer price index: 0.0 percent.
Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Fed who had a troubled relationship with inflation while it was alive, had this to say about its passing: “There was a perception that inflation and growing inflation was a big problem, and I couldn’t have gotten by with the policies we followed unless there was a feeling in the country that somebody ought to do something.”
Volcker famously broke inflation’s back in the early 1980s, an injury from which it never recovered.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman had harsh words for the departed: “It’s very hard to get inflation in a depressed economy.”
Inflation is survived by cousins, most of whom live overseas. Family in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Argentina and Iran tell us they are not doing interviews.