Paul Greenberg

The country's latest apostle of Weimarization is Ben Bernanke, whose crew at the Fed (with the exception of the usual few spoilsports who know some history) have decided to buy another $600 billion of Treasury bonds, which should allow the banks to make another $600 billion in loans, which should get the economy's wheels spinning again. Sure result: Happy Days Are Here Again!

Never mind that banks are already sitting on mountains of cash, hesitating to invest it in an economic/political climate in which everything from next year's tax laws to the future of the country's health care is up in the air.

But why bother with details? Just get the Reichsmarks -- excuse me -- the dollars -- flowing again. And if that doesn't work, if things are still a tad sluggish, just print more of them!

Alas, the more printed, the less each is worth, till a whole society can be drowned in worthless money. "Only government," Milton Friedman noted, "can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink, and make the combination worthless."

For an object lesson in what can happen to the best-laid inflationary plans in real life, and in the all too real economy, see the history of the definitely former Weimar Republic.

For a more recent example, there's the Panic of 2008-09, whose after-effects are still with us. But we're supposed to believe that the same inflationary approach that led to that financial collapse will get us out of it. Just try a dose of Doctor Bernanke's magic elixir -- a whopping big, $600-billion dose -- and the economy will be cured!

Whatever brief high this medicine produces, it may soon enough prove the kind of cure that assures only a relapse.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.