The economy is cratering, so the Fed is printing money. When the Fed prints money, this eventually produces inflation (more dollars, same amount of goods).
Ben Bernanke assured us yesterday that, this time, the Fed's money-printing won't eventually lead to inflation because the moment the economy begins to recover, the Fed will stop printing money and start burning it. Specifically, the Fed will start selling assets instead of buying them and thus shrink the money supply.
Unfortunately, Ben is unlikely to keep this promise.
* First, it will be hard to confidently assert that the economy in full recovery. Remember, in 2007, Ben (and most other people) thought the economy was in great shape as far as the eye could see. He and most other observers missed that disastrous turning point. So why do we think he'll correctly spot the next one? Especially because, if he blows it by jacking up rates too early, he'll kill the recovery. * Second, there will be intense political pressure to MAKE SURE that the economy is in rip-roaring health before hammering consumers and businesses by raising interest rates...