Washington Post Backs Supply-Side Reforms

There was a time when it was considered beyond the pale even to mention the supply side when talking about inflation. The powers that be ridiculed anything outside of the Keynesian obsession with aggregate demand. Chief among those gatekeepers of discourse was the Washington Post.

It took a few decades, but the editors for the paper that put the Establishment in Establishment media have added their voices to ours in talking about supply-side policies – even if some of the notes were off.

In their editorial on inflation, the editors offer some decent ideas:

Elsewhere on the supply side, the Biden administration needs to target outmoded regulations that restrict supply with no commensurate health or safety benefits. It has already done this regarding over-the-counter hearing aids, potentially saving consumers millions of dollars. Housing markets, long constrained by zoning and other rules, cry out for liberation, admittedly a job for local governments — but one that they might be more likely to take on if the president nudges them. If there is any area for bipartisan cooperation, consumer-friendly, productivity-enhancing deregulation might be it.

From their keyboards to Biden’s ears!

The editors don’t mention the Jones Act, but that’s a near perfect example of “outmoded regulations that restrict supply with no commensurate health or safety benefits.” As for housing, a president leading the YIMBY charge would be very helpful indeed.

The editors get more fuzzy when it comes to lowering trade barriers: fixating on “selectively easing tariffs on goods from China that Mr. Trump imposed.” They aren’t necessarily wrong with this recommendation. However, they miss far politically easier trade liberalizations – such removing the Trump tariffs still in place on our allies, rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and bringing back its Atlantic counterpart.

Overall though, this editorial signifies a new conversation in our nation’s capital. “Supply side reforms” is no longer a dirty phrase. Now it’s up to the president to implement the actual policies that can fight inflation without collateral damage to the economy itself.

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