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Expand chart
Reproduced from Institute of International Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

The main reason the debt has been such a non-issue is that inflation in the U.S. and most industrialized countries has stayed persistently low.

Why it matters: However, more fund managers and economists are increasingly saying they're worried that may not hold.

What they're saying: The main factors holding down inflation, at least in the U.S., are technology and income inequality, says David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. That's been helped by the U.S.-China trade war, which has damaged business sentiment and investment, holding down demand.

  • "You’ve got this increasingly unequal distribution of income that is preventing aggregate demand from getting too high."
  • "You can’t change the information technology, but if you do push up aggregate demand you could suddenly have a rush of inflation."

What to watch: Kelly also sees the unequal growth of assets in relation to the growth of the real economy as keeping inflation contained. But that could change.

  • "We’ve been avoiding that right now because the ownership of the assets is so tilted towards upper-income individuals who don’t spend them."
  • "But the day that those assets get spent, or people think they’re going to get spent, or you have MMT or big tax cuts for the poor, things are going to get sticky," Kelly says.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and to lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Ysidro, California, in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

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