Let bread and meat prices increase, everybody will be happy.

Thomas Robert Bugeaud quoted by Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 2, pages 77 to 80 (in French)
March 21st, 1847

It is so absurd that I do not know if today’s quote attributed to the Marshall Bugeaud is apocryphal or not. However, given the ignorance of economic mechanisms of protectionnists, it is not impossible that it had indeed been said and, in any case, it reflects their position rather accurately. Frédéric Bastiat mentions it while exposing the protectionnists who believe that decreases in prices lead to decreases in wages, the logical consequence of it being that an increase in prices lead to an increase in wages.

What he criticises here is the common confusion between correlation and causation. The protectionnists quickly draw conclusions when they observe phenomena without searching for their real cause and ignoring all their effects. It is not impossible that a price increase be correlated with wages growth (he mentions government borrowings that were made at the time), however, it does not necessarily follow that there is a causation.

The expected food shortages in 1847 were caused by poor harvest. The only way to reduce the burden of it was to allow for missing food imports, not to increase the money supply in order for workers to buy what does not exist.

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