Death and Taxes, Including Inflation: the Public versus Economists
AbstractInflation worries the general public much more than it does the economics profession, and economists remain perplexed as to exactly why. The costs that concern economists are inflationâ€™s deadweight loss. But that is only a part of the losses that concern the public, because inflation simultaneously transfers some of peopleâ€™s income into the hands of government. The fact that the seigniorage tax may pay for programs they favor is a separate issue. Moreover, unlike income and other taxes, which people in democratic countries may think they have some control over through voting, seigniorage appears utterly arbitrary. In fact, people can be aware of the fall in their real cash balances without realizing at all that government gains. Admittedly the magnitude of this tax is low in developed countries like the United States, even when inflation hits double digits. But that hardly justifies indifference to dollars that inflation takes from the public and gives to the government. The public may still overestimate the costs of inflation after including their losses through the seigniorage transfer. Yet macroeconomists are guilty of overlooking the publicâ€™s dislike for this implicit tax.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.
Volume (Year): 4 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
inflation; deadweight loss; deficit; money; national debt; seigniorage; taxation; velocity;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
- E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
- E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
- E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
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