*Crunch*, by Jared Bernstein

The book is the latest attempt to write a populist, Progressive economics tract.

There is a chapter called "Why do economists seem to fear inflation?  And why do prices always go up, never down?"

Imagine trying to answer those questions without ever writing the two words: "money supply."  Yes, there is talk of the Fed changing interest rates to affect the price level.  But in an odd converse to the famous joke about Milton Friedman, Bernstein just can’t bring himself to utter the "M word."  At first I thought it was a semantic oversight but when I came to the passage describing "the wage-price spiral" as "economists’ biggest inflationary nightmare" I realized I was wrong.

The chapter on the Fed does mention the money supply but in the context of describing the views of others and even then only in passing.

Yes I know that the broader monetary aggregates are endogenous and yes I know that it is somewhat of a mystery, in theoretical terms, exactly why open market operations are effective.  It is fine to acknowledge those complexities.  But still, it is no answer to give your readers Hamlet without the Prince or even any mention of his absence.

I would like to see Jared Bernstein called up on The Colbert Show and asked to do nothing but utter those two little words: "money supply."


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