Ronald McKinnon, economics professor at Stanford, thinks the US is already entering stagflation:
'Stagflation" is an ugly word for an ugly situation: persistent high inflation combined with high unemployment and stagnant demand in a country's economy. The term was coined by British politician Iain Mcleod in a speech to Parliament in 1965. We haven't experienced it here in the United States since the bad old days of the 1970s.
Yet with prices on the rise and unemployment still high, the U.S. economy again seems to be entering stagflation. April's producer price index for finished goods, which excludes services and falling home prices, rose 6.8%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that intermediate goods prices for April were rising at a 9.4% annual clip. Meanwhile the official nationwide unemployment rate is mired close to 9%, without counting a large backlog of discouraged workers who are no longer officially in the labor force. So stagflation it is.
The stagflation of the 1970s was brought on by unduly easy U.S. monetary policy in conjunction with attempts to "talk" the dollar down, leading to massive outflows of hot money that destabilized the monetary systems of America's trading partners. Although today's stagflation is not identical, the similarities are striking.