These last posts about the

These last posts about the 1970’s are stimulating a walk down memory lane–which, when we’re talking about the 70’s, is not for the faint of heart. One thing that stands out, with hindsight, about the Nixon and Ford administrations is the sheer incoherence of liberal Republicanism. Does anybody remember Gerald Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” campaign? I’d love to have one of those “WIN” buttons; there must still be some around. It was never clear, of course, how we citizens were supposed to go about Whipping Inflation, but if you weren’t a monetarist, that was about all you could come up with by way of an inflation policy. In those days, Milton Friedman was considered an eccentric, out of date ideologue. It was Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker who Whipped Inflation, not with buttons but with sound monetary policy. Reagan ignored, as he so often did, the Democratic pundits who told us we should just get used to a permanent 10 to 15% annual inflation rate. If Reagan had done nothing else, his Administration would have been a success. But you already know that story. I mean, the newspapers are just full of articles about the 20th anniversary of the restoration of sound monetary policy, and how it kicked off two decades of unprecedented prosperity.