One economic theory states that we can never have deflation in a long term economy. For prices to deflate would be contrary to the built-in safeguards put forth by the government agencies. The main cause of a deflation would have to be a massive withdrawal of money from the banking system. As long as the money is insured, that is unlikely to happen. I tend to agree with that theory. It is unlikely that prices will go down long term as long as people have confidence in having their money in the banks.
One of the safeguards put into effect in the 30s depended on the negotiation of wages. No one group of wages, but all American Manufacturing was based on Union wages. Inflation and wage increases went hand in hand all through the 50s and to some extent through the 60s. Nonunion people normally could do a “me too” on the backs of Union worker’s negotiations. If a Union member negotiated a contract for $10 an hour plus benefits, companies tended to pay the nonunion worker just a little less. But to remain competitive in attracting people, they had to match the wages fairly close.
In that kind of atmosphere it was natural for more and more money to be printed as wages increased at a rate of at least 4.5 percent per year. (Read More...)