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Whip Inflation Now
January 3, 2012 3:59 PM   Subscribe

There will be no big Federal bureaucracy set up for this crash program. Through the courtesy of such volunteers from the communication and media fields, a very simple enlistment form will appear in many of tomorrow's newspapers along with the symbol of this new mobilization, which I am wearing on my lapel. It bears the single word WIN. I think that tells it all.
"WIN" buttons immediately became objects of ridicule; skeptics wore the buttons upside down, explaining that "NIM" stood for "No Immediate Miracles," or "Nonstop Inflation Merry-go-round," or "Need Immediate Money."

In his book
The Age of Turbulence, Alan Greenspan as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors recalled thinking "This is unbelievably stupid" when Whip Inflation Now was first presented to the White House.
posted by Trurl (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
(h/t to three blind mice for reminding me to get around to this)
posted by Trurl at 4:00 PM on January 3, 2012


In retrospect, it was less short-term helpful but far less long-term harmful than anything Greenspan ever brought us.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:08 PM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The current academic consensus .... has concluded pretty clearly that at least part of the cause of the 1970s inflation was bad data and a misunderstanding of how the economy works.

*facepalm*

I mean, at least "Vietnam" was a frickin' reason.
posted by dhartung at 4:11 PM on January 3, 2012


This was so unbelievably stupid, I bet an economics PhD must've thought it up.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:24 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Look, the Oil Supply was Embargoed. That's not the only thing that was going on prior to Ford's speech, but it was certainly more of a factor behind inflation than anything these buttons could correct.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:24 PM on January 3, 2012


But it didn't involve a bit Federal bureaucracy - how could it not work! Amiright?

If I had nothing better to do with my life than screw with the Tea Partiers I would hang myself I'd be curious to see if I couldn't get on their forums and, with a little effort, get them to adopt "Whip Inflation Now" as their exemplar of what America once was and could be again. It's certainly got all the right buzzwords.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:27 PM on January 3, 2012


Interesting. Volker ended up 'whipping' inflation by causing a recession. It stands to reason that if causality on this goes both ways, you could 'whip' a recession by causing inflation.

That's what' Krugman has been saying, anyway. If you have a credible inflation target it would help end the 'lesser depression'
posted by delmoi at 4:29 PM on January 3, 2012


Well, it was better than the Stop Helping Inflation Today slogan that it replaced.

(I think that was from Chevy Chase).
posted by plastic_animals at 4:37 PM on January 3, 2012


It's worth watching the video of Ford's speech for the comedy value.

You can really hear the college football lunkhead he began as.
posted by Trurl at 4:38 PM on January 3, 2012


It's worth watching the video of Ford's speech for the comedy value.
You can really hear the college football lunkhead he began as.


I can almost hear my late Dad (who passed in May 2011 and was a staunch Democrat and UAW supporter until his dying day) uttering those words, except he used much stronger language than "lunkhead." Ford had no (expletive) business being (expletive) Vice President, much less (expletive) President, according to Dad. Even though Ford was a fellow Michigander, Dad took absolutely no pride in having that particular president come from our home state. Oh, and you should have heard him cuss up a storm that summer we drove to visit my aunt in Fennville (near Saugatuck) and discovered that a portion of the Blue Star Highway had been renamed the Gerald R. Ford Freeway....! I was a freshman in high school when Ford debuted his WIN button, and even at that time it was a joke the very next day after his speech aired. What in the world would a slogan and a badge do to bring gasoline prices back down to less than 40 cents a gallon or make any meal containing beef a non-luxury item?
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:01 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


And here's Volcker telling us how dangerous a little inflation is.

Personally, I think he tips his hand here:
They do it because experience confirms that price stability — and the expectation of that stability — is a key element in keeping interest rates low and sustaining a strong, expanding, fully employed economy.

I thought silly low interest rates and massive leveraging (which is like low interest's stupid brother) driving a massive growth market in real estate was the lion's share of what got us where we are right now, but I haven't caused any recessions so what do I know.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:01 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reading or listening to economists talk about "the economy" is like listening to a 10-year-old talk about sex.
posted by maxwelton at 5:24 PM on January 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Winning!
posted by cjorgensen at 5:39 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Financial Action Increases Liberty.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:46 PM on January 3, 2012


That's not really fair Maxwelton; 10-year-olds often sneak a look at on-line porn.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:57 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


A little inflation is good for debtors; I wonder who might have a problem with that.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:09 PM on January 3, 2012


I remember with the WIN buttons came out. And insofar that half of the problem with the economy is based on pessimism, Ford's and his advisors' hearts were in the right place, but in the wrong era. Had it been done 40 years earlier, it might have gained a bit more traction. (Think "Happy Days are Here Again," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and "Prosperity is Just Around the Corner.")

Coming after the social and political turbulence of the 60's and the political corruption of the early 70's, the WIN Button will be remembered by historians as an indication that we had moved into a completely different mindset from the world of the Great Depression and FDR, one where we were much more jaded and media-savvy.
posted by crunchland at 6:40 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


crunchland: "Morning in America"
posted by Grimgrin at 6:44 PM on January 3, 2012


Ford is one reason I was so grateful for Reagan.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:18 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


And Reagan is one reason I was so grateful for Clinton, and Dubya, Obama.
posted by crunchland at 7:24 PM on January 3, 2012


Ford is one reason I was so grateful for Reagan.

Wasn't there a guy named Carter in between?
posted by delmoi at 7:27 PM on January 3, 2012


Delmoi, Carter is the other reason.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:38 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Inflation was out of control during Nixon and Ford, and it was Carter's fault. Sound familiar?
posted by dglynn at 7:43 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: so grateful for Reagan.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:50 PM on January 3, 2012


dglynn, no it doesn't sound familiar. Did someone say that?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:58 PM on January 3, 2012


> was the lion's share of what got us where we are right now

Well, yeah -- so it also got the recently indecently rich where _they_ are right now.
No wonder they recommend doing it again, more, forever.
1987
posted by hank at 8:34 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought Reagan was idiotic in claiming that ketchup was a vegetable. Now I'm reminded that Ford seemed to think cotton was food.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:32 AM on January 4, 2012


Did someone say that?

Yes. Herds of Republicans were saying for decades that everything was Carter's fault
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:33 AM on January 4, 2012


On initial reading of this post, I missed the first sentence and was sure it was said by Kanye West.
posted by troika at 6:55 AM on January 4, 2012


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