Michael Kinsley is a brilliant writer, but sometimes it's possible to be too glib. Take, for instance, his monocausal explanation in The Atlantic of the decline in trust in civic institutions and government:
Furthermore, as Samuelson notes, the damage is more than just economic. These days everyone is disenchanted with civic institutions and government. They hate the press, they loathe Congress, and so on. Studies by foundations puzzle over why. Was it the ’60s? No, it was the late ’70s and early ’80s, when government failed to deliver on its obligation to provide a stable currency.
Unfortunately for Kinsley, the decline in political and civic trust started long before the spike in inflation in the late '70s and early '80s -- see, for instance, this chart of National Election Studies data from GW's John Sides:
A more fine-grained measure of quarterly trust from Ohio State's Luke Keele also indicates that trust declined before the inflation spike:
Keele does show that perceptions of the state of the economy (which are influenced by inflation) play an important role in government trust, but I don't know of any serious scholarship that holds Carter-era inflation responsible for causing the secular decline in trust. (Keele blames a decline in social capital instead). What's especially galling about this is that Kinsley knows that vast effort has been devoted to studying this issue, and he just sweeps it aside in favor of an evidence-free assertion. That may have been appropriate when he hosted Crossfire, but it has no place in The Atlantic.