Inflations Big and Small Rising Prices

Through the years, people have been willing to wear some absurd slogans on their clothing. But surely one of the worst was the “WIN” button, introduced by United States President Gerald Ford in a speech on October 8, 1974. [1] The button, shown in the following figure, was the symbol of a campaign against a perceived a social evil. And what was this great evil? It was inflation. “WIN” stood for “whip inflation now.” President Ford asked citizens to wear WIN buttons as a sign that they were enlisted in the battle against inflation. Figure 11.1 Button: Whip Inflation Now

Wearing buttons might not have been the first bit of advice economists would have given to a leader interested in battling inflation. But this episode makes it evident that President Ford and his advisors viewed inflation as a major social problem. The president even invoked wartime imagery, concluding his speech by saying the following: [2]

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Only two of my predecessors have come in person to call upon Congress for a declaration of war, and I shall not do that. But I say to you with all sincerity that our inflation, our public enemy number one, will, unless whipped, destroy our country, our homes, our liberties, our property, and finally our national pride, as surely as any well- armed wartime enemy. I concede there will be no sudden Pearl Harbor to shock us into unity and to sacrifice, but I think we have had enough early warnings. The time to intercept is right now. The time to intercept is almost gone. My friends and former colleagues, will you enlist now?