Why have the costs of basic goods and services been increasing in recent months? Will shortages in stores and delays in orders for durable goods persist—and what is the meaning of the often invoked supply-chain issues? What public policies might help ameliorate the situation? In this Conversation, Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, considers the dynamics of the economy during the pandemic—the fiscal stimulus, accommodative monetary policy, dislocations in the global supply chain—and considers possible paths forward beyond the Covid era. He points to container ships backed up in our major ports as an example of how a sclerotic regulatory framework can worsen a serious problem and increase our vulnerability to a threat like supply shocks. Lincicome recommends modernizing infrastructure via automation, increasing our workforce via immigration, and improving our resilience via deregulation.

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