However, the U.S. dollar has fallen much in value since the end of World War Two. And all that time, the quantity of money in circulation was being suppressed. And all that time it was credit-use that added to the demand that was causing inflation. And all the while, the cost of using credit was creating additional upward pressure on prices. It was not printing money that caused inflation. The use of credit caused inflation.
If this is the case, then we should see a definite and specific correlation that is robust over time. The absence of correlation is straight-forward refutation of any claim of causation. To give a first look, I went to FRED and constructed a graph of YoY % change for two series: CMDEBT (Household Credit Market Debt Outstanding ) and CPIAUCSL (Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.)
My reasoning is that if debt drives inflation, then the curves should move in some sort of similar pattern. We see this happening during a specific period. From the late 60's through about 1980, big increases in debt do lead to proportionally large increases in inflation. This period is highlighted by the red oval. But that is only one decade out of six. The rest of the time we find a great deal of contrary motion. I've thrown some red arrows on the graph to show this effect.
The period from 1990 to the current economic malaise is especially striking: a broad advance in debt spanning almost two decades while inflation wiggled quite a bit, but went absolutely nowhere.
Maybe this isn't the right way to look at it. I'm certainly willing to consider other evidence. But as of now, I'll say two things. First, the 70's were really different with regard to inflation - as I've indicated before with another potential inflation cause. Second, the idea that debt causes inflation, barring some other strong evidence to the contrary, is D.O.A.