"Economic medicine that was previously meted out by the cupful has recently been dispensed by the barrel. These once-unthinkable dosages will almost certainly bring on unwelcome aftereffects. Their precise nature is anyone's guess, though one likely consequence is an onslaught of inflation."
Warren Buffett, 2009.

As the Federal Reserve double-, triple-, and quadruple-downed on monetary policy starting in 2008, the common-sense response was to predict that booming inflation was right around the corner.

But they warned it would come in 2009, and it didn't. They warned it would come in 2010, and it didn't. The same goes for 2011 and 2012.

The Consumer Price Index has increased at an average annual rate of 1.87% since 2008. That's almost half the average post-World War II rate of change. Privately measured inflation gauges show roughly the same thing.

What happened?

I recently sat down with Hoover Institute economist Russ Roberts. He took a stab at the inflation conundrum. Have a look.

Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.