Bernanke could slam the door on inflation with a firm 50 basis point hike tomorrow, but he doesn't have the balls or brains. What's better? Increasing inflation over and above what we're already experiencing, while the banks refuse to lend money except for all but the most exceptional cases... ...or decreasing inflation (deflation on core), while the banks refuse to lend money except for all but the most exceptional cases? At least with the latter, consumers get breathing room to spend more money on things other than gasoline, heating oil, electricity and bread. Not only that, but he might be able to break the neck of this core inflation with one simple hike, because it would catch the factors responsible for the inflation off guard. If successful, he could then relax monetary policy in maybe September, because he will have created a cushion. But he won't.