Inflation is “good for you,” says Jon Schwarz, on “egalitarian” grounds, because wages rise along with prices, and because the burden of debt is decreased.

But in the first place, wages rise slower than prices, and that they do so is the whole point of the Keynesian inflationary spending. If they rose as fast as prices, there could be no trade-off between inflation and unemployment. The idea is precisely for the government to take advantage of the “money illusion,” to deceive the workers into thinking that they are still as well off while sneakily lowering their real wages as inflation raises the price level. Keynes felt that this trick would fool the unions who would otherwise not permit their money wages to be lowered.

Inflation then, in Keynesian thinking, benefits the unemployed but harms those already employed.

Second, inflation does not affect all prices and wages equally. That depends on who comes into the possession of new money first and on what they do with this money. The first recipients have their selling prices rise while their buying prices stay the same and profit. The last recipients will see their buying prices rise long before their selling prices rise and lose. It is entirely possible that the beneficiaries will be rich and the losers poor.

And third, there is no reason to believe that the debtors are generally poor and creditors generally rich. Many rich people have massive debts, and many poor people live within their means.

It’s hard to justify inflation on considerations of distribution because, unlike taxation which can be pinpointed to target the “rich” or some other particular class, inflation is an unpredictable and uncontrollable phenomenon. To the extent that there are patterns, I agree that “widows and orphans” suffer while the stock market soars ever higher.

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