The Latest American Export: Inflation By Ronlad McKinnon, The Wall Street Journal
“Now we have what one might call the Bernanke shock. The Fed has set U.S. short-term interest rates at essentially zero since September 2008, followed in 2010 by quantitative easing to drive down long-term rates. Predictably, primary commodity prices in 2009-10 surged. In 2010 alone, all items in the Economist’s dollar commodity price index rose 33.5%, while the industrial raw materials component soared a remarkable 37.4.%”
“First, sharp general price increases in auction-market goods such as primary commodities or foreign exchange (i.e., a weakening dollar) is an early warning sign that the Fed is being too easy—a warning that the Fed is again ignoring as we enter 2011.
Second, beyond the rise in primary commodity prices, general price inflation in the U.S. only comes with long and variable lags. After the U.S. monetary shock, hot money flows into countries on the dollar standard’s periphery cause a loss of monetary control and general inflation to show up there more quickly than in the U.S.”
“Beginning with the Nixon shock in 1971, American policy makers have frequently ignored foreign complaints. But by ignoring inflationary early warning signs on the dollar standard’s periphery, which in turn lead to rising domestic prices and asset bubbles, the Fed has made both the world and American economies much less stable.”