By PAUL WISEMAN
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stagflation. It was the dreaded “S word” of the 1970s. For Americans of a certain age, it conjures memories of painfully long lines at gas stations and shuttered factories. Stagflation is the bitterest of pills: High inflation mixes with a weak job market to cause a toxic brew that punishes consumers and befuddles economists. For decades, most economists didn’t think such a nasty concoction was even possible. But a confluence of events has economists reaching back to the days of disco and the bleak high-inflation, high-unemployment economy of nearly a half century ago. Few think stagflation is in sight. But as a longer-term threat, it can no longer be dismissed.