In a wide-ranging, six-minute conversation on Fox News Channel’s Outnumbered, five news personalities Monday explored a range of explanations for a recent study showing the “American Dream” had become unaffordable for most Americans — without ever once saying the word “inflation.”
The five Fox regulars were responding to a recent USA Today analysis “Price tag for the American dream: $130K a year.” The article has been getting attention because the figure McPaper came up with for a comfortable life is nearly triple the annual median income of $51,000. The Outnumbered gang considered a range of effects — including soaring education costs and poor lending practices in the government-supported real estate market. They also pointed to important deadweight losses for Americans, including high taxes and surging energy costs as a result of global warming initiatives.
But at no point did anybody refer to the monetary phenomenon by which the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States incessantly expands the supply of money, and as a direct result you end up paying more for less of everything until the day you die — and beyond. (Funeral costs are also skyrocketing.)
Inflation is widely claimed to be “moderate” or too low, even though inflation itself is an artificial creation of government, and the natural progression of prices against even a semi-reliable store of value is deflationary. (As was seen during the first 137 years of the U.S. economy, during which the dollar gradually increased in value while the economy experienced levels of growth and social mobility never seen before or since in human history.) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI inflation calculator, the dollar has lost 18 percent of its value since the beginning of the 2006 collapse in real estate prices — a severe and very unusual period of economic stagnation during which prices would have been expected to fall in a society governed by common sense. Over that period, the U.S. monetary base has increased more than tenfold, according to the St. Louis Fed.
The Outnumbered team did come close to acknowledging that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. “You’ve got food prices that are back on the rise right now. The devaluing of the U.S. dollar. The buck doesn’t go as far these days,” said host Sandra Smith. “Everything is more expensive,” said #OneLucky Guy Brian Kilmeade.
The hosts were responding to an article in which the word “inflation” is also strikingly absent. And it should be noted that the quality of the Fox economic discussion was on a par with The Wealth of Nations compared with a similar segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, in which the hyper-expensiveness of daily life in America was blamed on factors including the Wall Street boom, corporate profits, a too-low minimum wage, capitalism, and lack of a “moral imperative for shareholders” to make the American Dream more affordable.
But it is stunning proof of how deeply Keynesian mythology is embedded in American thought that (even though polls invariably list “rising prices” or some variation of that phrase as the first or second most important economic concern of Americans) the topic of inflation never comes up, even when people talk about how prices are increasing.