Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Weisenthal Theory on Why Older Men Worry about Inflation

No, it is not because Fed chairman Bernanke is currently printing money like a mad man.

No, it is not because price inflation destroys the incentive to save and encourages many to recklessly go into debt.

No, it is not that accelerating price inflation hurts those living on fixed income.

Joe Weisenthal has a new theory  on why older men worry about inflation.  This theory could probably make him the successor to Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman. He writes:
The real reason is that worrying about inflation makes people like Chuck Grassley feel young again. 
Grassley is 75 years old. The last time inflation was a real problem in the late '70s/early '80s, Grassley was in his early-to-mid 40s, a point in his life when he presumably had a lot more testosterone production, and was in much better shape. 
BTW: This doesn't just go for Grassley; there's a huge crop of supply-siders who came of age under Reagan, who still go on TV all the time whining about inflation, all of whom were at their career/virility peaks during the Reagan/inflation years. 
So for them, worrying about inflation is like buying a Lamborghini or marrying a young wife. It makes them feel good and young again. 
The impulse is understandable. It's just scary that it influences policy.
Yup, so the next time you go to the grocery store and prices are up, don't worry. It is just Bernanke trying to elevate the testosterone levels  of older men, Joe Weisenthal says so. Needless to say this is mad, but I think he is serious, which makes me wonder if he is getting enough, relative to his current testosterone level.



  1. I hope its just a joke otherwise that makes him appear to be a rather dull individual.

  2. It's not a joke. He is serious. I read the article yesterday and thought about sending along to RW. I'm glad he responded to it. Not that it needed much of a response, but these sorts of articles really show us the mindset of the mainstream.

  3. Although Weisenthal's association of inflation with testosterone and youth is ridiculous, there is a small, unintended gem in his analysis. Most people 35 and younger have never experienced severe inflation. I was a teenager during the mid to late '70s. I remember the nightly updates on inflation and gold prices by Walter Cronkite, and I remember how stressful inflation was for my parents -- even though they didn't understand why it was occurring. When Volker (who was put in place by Carter, BTW, even though Reagan got the credit for what Volker did) put the brakes on money printing and interest rates skyrocketed to over 20%, the farming communities -- who are very dependent on seasonal borrowing -- really suffered.

    If I were to pick an event that shaped my mother's worldview, it would be the Great Depression -- much more than my father, whom I don't think suffered nearly as much during that period. In almost every economic decision she made, you could see the paranoia of the Great Depression coming though. I don't think the inflation of the '70s rises to the level of the Great Depression, but I do think people who've seen it "in person" respect how devastating it can be in a way those who've never seen it don't. I don't doubt that affects the fear that older people experience regarding inflation.