Those days are coming to an end — because recent economic shocks have been mostly demand-driven. The only supply shock was a 30-year deflationary one, also known as the China shock. Prices stayed low and the Fed had lots of leeway to juice the economy without having to face the choice between inflation and growth. But in a world with an aging population and less scope for increased trade, the Fed’s long free lunch is over too. In fact, the last few years might have been its last hurrah.

There is a chance that, like a lot of my fellow economists, I am wrong. Perhaps the Fed will be able to reduce rates without much damage to the economy or the labor market; immaculate disinflation, so tantalizingly close, may actually happen. Whatever happens, however, the end of the pandemic dividend will make it harder for central bankers. For the first time in recent memory, the people who try to manage the US economy — not to mention the considerably larger group of us who participate in it — will have to navigate some difficult trade-offs.

Allison Schrager is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering economics. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, she is author of “An Economist Walks Into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.”

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