Presidential Inflation

   Apr 5, 2024     2 min read

No, I’m not going to write about the presidency in Iceland, as it’s probably the most boring job in the world. I take my hat off to those who are willing to take on that role, because while the president matters, they probably do best by doing and saying as little as possible and just having their photo taken. Nor am I going to write about the presidential elections in the United States, which are astronomically bizarre this year. It’s incredible that while a nation of 350 million people can’t find better candidates than Biden and Trump, there is hardly a shortage of presidential candidates in Iceland.

But I said I wasn’t going to write about presidents in Iceland or the United States, yet I’ve done little else. Today’s discussion topic is much more important than the presidency, but it’s about the paper snippets that Americans stamp with faces of old presidents. Washington, Lincoln, and others. But when it all comes down to it, it’s about Benjamin, who never became president of the United States. Or rather, the money printed with his face on it.

The rap song ‘It’s All About the Benjamins’ nearly topped the charts in the West at the end of the last century, and it’s just as relevant in Iceland where Jón President (who was also never a president) graces our 500 krona bill and is hidden on all other bills as well. I’m not sure if anything was rapped about Jón President here in Iceland, but maybe it will be Jón Gnarr’s campaign video this year.

I apologize for this long introduction, but I thought it was necessary because just as presidents need to matter, so do money. It’s entirely possible to have a president who doesn’t matter and to have money that also doesn’t matter. There are well-known examples of currencies that have fizzled out in the flames of inflation and become useless. It’s not enough to just have a currency or change the currency, it needs to work for the people.

It can easily be argued that the Icelandic krona doesn’t particularly work well for the people who use it. However, that doesn’t mean that any other currency will work any better, as all currencies are subject to the same laws. If they’re not handled properly, they become worthless. Their purpose is to simplify transactions between people. Inflation complicates those transactions. So does a crisis. Just like the presidential elections in both Iceland and the United States.

2024 is the year where the presidential elections are a mirror image of the economy. In Iceland, there’s presidential inflation, and in the United States, there’s a presidential crisis, except everyone is in denial about it.