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Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens, but by the government: by an artificial expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people’s savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist governments.
Never forget that no government has wealth of its own to spend. The money has to come from taxation, monetary inflation, or debt expansion that must be paid later. And government’s spending choices will always be uneconomic relative to how society would use that wealth. That is to say, the money will be wasted.
Repeal the entire Banking Act of 1933, and Austrian School economists will cheer, especially if the current system were replaced by a 100%-reserve competitive banking with no central bank. That banking reform would give us a sound money system, meaning no more business cycle, bailouts, or inflation.
The Fed is pushing a variety of workarounds that would inject trillions in new money into the economy while bypassing the banking system altogether. Time will tell whether or not this will succeed. Meanwhile, a serious danger lurks around the corner. Once the recession is over, the lending will start again. With fractional-reserve banking and limitless supplies of cash on hand, we will likely see the overall price trends reversed, from deflation to inflation to possible hyperinflation.
The gold standard did not collapse. Governments abolished it in order to pave the way for inflation. The whole grim apparatus of oppression and coercion, policemen, customs guards, penal courts, prisons, in some countries even executioners, had to be put into action in order to destroy the gold standard.