Three decades ago, U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was confronted with a nation bordering on irrelevance, a stagnant economy and a set of entrenched beliefs about the relationship between government and the people.
Inflation is sometimes referred to as a hidden tax. Unlike other taxes, it doesn’t require legislation by Congress or the states. It doesn’t merit a line item on the 1040 federal income-tax form many Americans will file this week. And it doesn’t appear on the bottom of sales’ receipts as a percentage markup on the things we buy.
President Barack Obama, under pressure from Republican lawmakers and constituents to reduce the highest jobless levels in more than a quarter century, faces a more persistent, underlying challenge: long-term unemployment.
The running commentary on the U.S. economy can be reduced to two main themes. The first is that monetary and fiscal policies have run out of bullets. The second is that oil prices are responsible for our current malaise.