Overzealously fighting inflation to help lower-income workers might actually do the opposite.

The central economic debate in the United States right now is how aggressive the Federal Reserve should be in its effort to reduce inflation. Few economists are arguing against the need for higher interest rates to reduce demand, but there are trade-offs, at least in the near term. If monetary policy is too tight, we may have an unnecessary recession; if it’s not tight enough, inflation will persist, and maybe get entrenched in people’s expectations, so it will become harder to reduce later.

Also, there’s a question of where to stop: Even some economists who have been relatively hawkish, like Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, have been arguing that getting inflation back down to 3 percent, rather than the current target of 2 percent, would be good enough.

To a large extent, we’re talking here about

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