BPEA | 1971 No. 2

After the Freeze

discussants: George L. Perry
George L. Perry Senior Fellow Emeritus - Economic Studies

1971, No. 2

WILLIAM POOLE HAS OFFERED a model of incomes policy that is like balancing an egg. The policy can be far too oppressive-the egg falls left; or it can be totally ineffectual-the egg falls right. Finding a middle approach for policy that works is like trying to stand the egg on its head: It’s clearly unstable and can’t be done. I don’t think anyone in the administration is contemplating a permanent, comprehensive set of controls. And it is certainly not the program that I am prepared to defend or that most economists who favor an incomes policy of some sort have in mind. What is relevant is a middle-of-the-road program that can be adopted after the ninety-day freeze. Whether the middle road on incomes policy can work depends on the environment it has to work in. My view of the environment is different from Poole’s. In the sand, the egg stands on its head very easily.