This chart shows that for most of its early history the United States suffered very little inflation. Post Civil War there was actually mild deflation for the rest of the 19th century. It was not until the formation of a private central bank in 1913 that the nation began its current inflationary road trip. Now, inflation is actually a policy goal of the Federal Reserve, and one that is unlikely to change given the humongous national debt ($20 trillion). As the chart below shows inflation is not a new method of financing empire. Late Roman emperors debased the silver denarius to pay for the legions, the only institution holding it together at the end. The early coin contained 4.5g of silver; it ended with a thin silver coating over base metal. History rhymes. Now, in the digital age and IOUs (paper money), it is even easier to pay past debts with less valuable money. In the meantime the rest of us suffer the effects of a fourteen fold increase in the costs of living.