On the question of whether the United States is headed for an inflationary period or a deflationary period, highly trained economists are divided. This today at the Economist:
Last week, we launched our economics channel with a debate on whether inflation or deflation is the greater threat. Scroll through the contributions and you will discover either that “Tough deflationary times lie ahead” or that “Eventual inflation is inevitable”. Since this is the central question of economic policy at the moment, such a discordance of views is rather disturbing; much is made of the debate on global warming but the scientific consensus is overwhelmingly on one side on that issue. On economics, governments are being forced to choose in matters of fiscal austerity, where the debate is almost 50-50.
So what do you believe (let alone do) when specialists in a technical field collide? Proportion your belief to the evidence? But the experts (in the case of inflation v. deflation) are divided on the evidence, and surely you don’t imagine yourself competent to adjudicate the evidence for yourself, do you?
In such a circumstance, if you are an elected official trying to digest conflicting economic advice from equally qualified experts, perhaps it is best just to flip a coin (or go to grad school). Or do nothing at all.