"A thorough, highly readable history of the politics that have controlled banking, currency, monetary gold, and government debt since the founding. I am going to put inflated on the short list of books that are given to our new traders and analysts."---Paul Tudor Jones II
"From the revolutionary-era origins of the national debt, through Civil War era greenbacks, New Deal deficit finance, and Richard Nixon's severing of the dollar's link to gold, Chris Whalen's Inflated offers a wry, often comical account of America's long, crisis prone love affair with inflation, debt, and the amazing dwindling dollar. His take-no-prisoners account of our latest financial crisis brings the story close to home. So does his timely conclusion. Americans must either find their way back to fiscal sanity and real, investment-driven growth, or risk a financial debacle that could make the Crash of 2008-2009 seem like the good old days.---Bob Reynolds
"Chris Whalen is already famous for this stellar work articulated in his bank rating service and in the Institutional Risk Analyst. This book captures another dimension. He uses his family history, which starts in the Nixon administration. He embellishes on his personal interviews with prominent persons like Paul Volcker and Josh Rosner. His book documents the `too big to fail' syndrome. Finally, he presents a view of the future and articulates what the confluence of central banking, government fiscal policy, and market vigilantes must confront ahead."---David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Cumberland Advisors
"In the Rothbardian tradition, Christopher Whalen fingers the bad guys and follows the money in his fast paced history detailing the U.S. government's continual monetary debauchery. For those wanting the real story of why America teeters on the edge of a financial cliff, Inflated is the book to read."---Douglas French, President Ludwig von Mises Institute
When it comes to matters of money, most Americans tend to view themselves as reasonably prudent people, reflecting the puritan roots of their European ancestors. Yet, at the same time, Americans also seem to feel entitled to a lifestyle, individually and nationally, that is well above the rest of the world's, and well beyond our current means. Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream explores more than two hundred years of American politics and monetary policy to examine this conflict. In doing so, it asks whether the current understanding of the American Dream, one of entitlement, is so ingrained that to expect Americans willingly to live in a "deflated" world is unrealistic. This book simply and directly tells the story of inflation and public debt as enduring, and perhaps even endearing, features of American life.
Whether taming the frontier in the 1800s, fighting poverty during the Great Depression, or bailing out private corporations deemed "too big to fail" in the twenty-first century, America's tendency to borrow from the future is a core ethic of American society. In the post-market meltdown economy, Inflated explores the rich history of living beyond one's means, and whether Americans---an instinctively self-reliant, isolationist people---are more likely either to embrace fiscal stringency if other nations demand it or turn their backs on the rest of the world.
Chapter 1 Free Banking and Private Money.
The Bank of the United States.
State Debt Defaults.
The Age of Andrew Jackson.
The Panic of 1837.
The Gold Rush.
The Rise of Bank Clearinghouses.
Chapter 2 Lincoln Saves a Nation by Printing Money.
The Lincoln Legacy.
Financing the War.
Salmon Chase and Jay Cooke.
Fisk and Gould Profi t by Infl ation.
The Panic of 1873.
Gold Convertibility Restored.
The Battle Over Silver Money.
A Changing American Dream.
The Silver Compromise.
Chapter 3 Robber Barons and the Gilded Age.
The Age of Speculation.
Republicans Embrace Inflation.
The Panic of 1893.
The Cross of Silver.
The Evangelical Silverites.
The Turning Point: 1896.
Chapter 4 The Rise of the Central Bank.
The Progressive: Theodore Roosevelt.
A Flexible Currency.
The Crisis of 1907.
The National Monetary Commission.
The Passage of the Federal Reserve Act.
Roosevelt, Wilson, and the Politics of Reform.
Chapter 5 War, Boom, and Bust.
The Fed During WWI.
A Return to Republican Normalcy.
The Roaring Twenties.
A New Era of Debt and Investing.
The Rise of Consumer Finance.
Prelude to the Depression.
Bust: Stocks Fall and Tariffs Rise.
Inflation versus Defl ation.
Ford, Couzens, and the Detroit Banks.
Chapter 6 New Deal to Cold War.
FDR and the Era of Broken Precedent.
The Seizure of Gold and Dollar Devaluation.
Dollar Devaluation Hurt World Trade.
The Rise of the Corporate State.
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
Central Planning Arrives in Washington.
FDR Embraces Federal Deposit Insurance.
The Legacy of FDR.
The Fed and the RFC.
Corporativist Reform at the Fed.
America Goes to War.
Wartime Inflation and Debt Finance.
Bretton Woods and Global Infl ation.
Chapter 7 Debt and Infl ation: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats.
Federal Revenues Grow.
The Fed Regains Independence.
The Post-War Economy Soars.
The Legacy of War.
Cold War, Free Trade.
The Dollar's Golden Age.
Global Imbalances Return.
Richard Nixon's Betrayal.
The End of the Dollar Peg.
The Return of Sovereign Borrowing.
Chapter 8 Leveraging the American Dream.
The New Uncertainty.
Humphrey-Hawkins and Full Employment.
Balanced Budgets and Inflation.
Volcker's Shock Treatment.
The Crisis Managers.
The Latin Debt Crisis.
Reagan Reappoints Volcker.
The Neverending Crisis.
Volcker Exits, Volatility Returns.
From Excess to Delusion.
The Greenspan Legacy.
Chapter 9 A New Monetary Order.
The Growth Challenge.
Jobs versus Infl ation.
Triffin's Dilemma and the Dollar.
About the Author.