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Unemployment and inflation are to some extent political decisions. The President, Congress, and the Federal Reserve all can move one figure one way, by moving the other figure in the opposite direction, but it’s rarely an equal trade-off. The President and Congress can do this with deficit spending, while the Federal Reserve can ignore inflationary signs and keep loose monetary policy so as to try to lower unemployment.
Rarely, however, does trying to manipulate these figures in dramatic ways result in much good. We opted for inflation twice in the 1970’s and even though unemployment initially fell, it was still well above the average. Indeed, at one point, prices became so unstable that unemployment started to rise alongside inflation, showcasing that even a political decision to lower unemployment by driving up inflation, can often result in the latter without the former.