How long can a central bank continue an inflation? Probably as long as people are convinced that the government, sooner or later, but certainly not too late, will stop printing money and thereby stop decreasing the value of each unit of money. When people no longer believe this, when they realize that the government will go on and on without any intention of stopping, then they begin to understand that prices tomorrow will be higher than they are today. Then they begin buying at any price, causing prices to go up to such heights that the monetary system breaks down.
Contrary to most experts, including Bernanke, the more aggressive the Fed's policies are, the worse the economy is going to be. If all that is required to revive the economy is pushing more money, then all third-world economies would be very wealthy by now.
Under a gold standard, sound government has a much better chance; its leaders can say to the people and to the politicians, "We can't do it unless we increase taxes." The gold standard is a form of protection against spendthrift governments.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.
They tell us that the government can spend and spend without taxing at all, that it can continue to pile up debt without ever paying it off, because "we owe it to ourselves". Such pleasant dreams in the past have always been shattered by national insolvency or a runaway inflation. All government expenditures must eventually be paid out of the proceeds of taxation and inflation itself is merely a form, and a particularly vicious form, of taxation.
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights.
Just as the sound money policy of gold standard advocates went hand in hand with liberalism, free trade, capitalism and peace, so is inflationism part and parcel of imperialism, militarism, protectionism, statism and socialism.