Beth Pinsker: Why not just print more money and not tell anyone? TikTok and Reddit are obsessed with solving for high inflation, but an economist explains why that idea won’t work

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Stock Market

As inflation stubbornly clings to the U.S. economy, people are increasingly looking for solutions, and at the top of the list is this one: Why not just print more money? And why not do it without telling people, so that it doesn’t backfire with even more inflation?  The idea pops up all over, and the approaches to explaining it range from Jack Corbett on NPR’s popular Planet Money TikTok channel to a discussion on the “ask science” subReddit to various YouTube contributors like Money & Macro.  

This isn’t necessarily a practical question, but is probably more about monetary theory at a fundamental level, like why do we even have this financial system? And if our money supply is truly in our control, why don’t we just fix it?  These days, the big imponderables about the world are summed up in short sardonic videos with rights-free soundtracks and clip-art graphics on TikTok, Reddit, YouTube and other social media channels. They are supplemented by copious amounts of comments, and the whole package taken together becomes a form of primary source material that has a wider reach than most textbooks.  Some 60% of young people get financial information from social media, according to the Finra Foundation, which can lead to some pretty risky investing behavior in options, cryptocurrency and meme stocks. In my household, these social media items on financial literacy reach me via texts from my teenagers, who send clips along and ask me if whatever is being said is true. So maybe a little fact-checking is in order, especially because some of the concepts being batted around are not so easy to understand, even for the experts. So, then, what’s the answer?  Instead of asking an AI chatbot to explain, I turned to economist Larry Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University. While the ans …

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