Definition of Inflation Tax

Inflation tax is not an actual legal tax paid to a government; instead "inflation tax" refers to the penalty for holding cash at a time of high inflation. When the government prints more money or reduces interest rates, it floods the market with cash, which raises inflation in the long run. If an investor is holding securities, real estate or other assets, the effect of inflation may be negligible. If a person is holding cash, though, this cash is worth less after inflation has risen. The degree of decrease in the value of cash is termed the inflation tax for the way it punishes people who hold assets in cash, which tend to be lower- and middle-class wage earners. 

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