Steven Forbes on Deflation

Honestly, I usually don't find his commentary that interesting, but this is an exception.

The worries of Greenspan & Co. are welcome–but about five years overdue. Our deflation began in the late 1990s, when the Fed inadvertently tightened monetary policy. Commodity prices collapsed, and deflation then began to work its way through the economy. That's why retailers have been sponsoring an unending cycle of discounts and sales; why auto manufacturers seem to be offering two cars for the price of one; why we've been reading stories about companies' lack of "pricing power." Political repercussions have been real: Hard times in the Farm Belt led to that awful agricultural bailout bill; deflation contributed mightily to steelmakers' distress, which led to those destructive tariffs; the high tech/telecom bust was all the more painful as customers (and the rest of the business community) found themselves under relentless pressure to slash costs. Businesses in general have been achieving profit goals only by repeatedly cutting expenses. The stock market slide as well was exacerbated by deflation. And the sudden drying up of capital gains is a critical cause of states and municipalities being in such fiscal hot water, even though the economic downturn has been rather mild by historic standards.