By Tiana Lowe, Commentary Writer | Washington Examiner
Consumer prices rose by 8.5% annually, according to March CPI numbers just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That inflation rate, the highest in 41 years, comes thanks to staggering food prices, which rose by a full percentage point in just the past month, and gas prices, up nearly 50% over the past year.
The Fed, like other Western central banks, claims to aim for a 2% benchmark
for inflation. Despite inflation consistently rising over the past year to
the highest point in four decades, the Fed waited until just last month to
impose its first rate hike in four years, and even then used Vladimir
Putin's invasion of Ukraine to choose a measly 25 basis points rate hike despite
knowing full well that it was not enough to stanch soaring prices.
So consider this: In the past two months alone, the consumer price index has risen by 2%, or the entirety of what central bankers claim to tolerate over the course of a full 12 months.
The pajama class will smugly retort that central bankers actually only care about core CPI, that is, the index without those volatile categories of food and energy. But as inflation has come to cost the average person $100 a week, the increasingly regressive nature of the catastrophe ought to take precedence over "full employment," The Current Thing of the Week, or whatever pet project overpaid financiers in Faconnable care about today.
In the past month alone, the price of food at home, the sort relied on by workers unable to afford dining out, increased by 1.5%. Fuel increased by 22.3% and rent by another 0.4%.
Inflation always disproportionately affects the poor, even when core CPI outpaces CPI. Wealthier folks can always downgrade from Whole Foods to Trader Joe's, cancel that expensive vacation, take worn shoes to the cobbler, and postpone date nights downtown. But at a certain point, poor people already penny-pinching are stuck.
Unless you can listen to the Biden administration and simply shell out the average $63,000 for an electric car — that is $15,000 higher than the overall industry average — the commute to work will never magically require less gas. A family already splitting bedrooms and bathrooms will never magically fit in a smaller apartment, and growing children will never magically need fewer calories. So, if you're already living paycheck to paycheck, a nearly 14% increase in meat and poultry prices over the past year means the only way the children get fed is if the least healthy options in the grocery store are chosen or if the parents have to start skipping meals. If the finance class still smugly wants to defend the Fed's obsession with core CPI, this is the logical conclusion: that the people who need price stability the most are those forgotten by the world's most powerful central bank.
Bidenflation Roars On, Setting New Record Highs
By Kevin Jackson
It hasn't been this bad since 1981.
I remember spending weekends with my great-grandmother as an adolescent. She always made us the best breakfasts. And she had a giant lightbulb “chandelier” hanging over the small table in the kitchen nook. My sisters and I often giggled at her quirky habits, like washing tinfoil.
My mother explained to us that Mama Jimmie lived through the Great Depression. As such, she wasted nothing. I also remember her saying how lucky we were to not understand the primal urge to preserve everything. But that is changing fast.
The 2020 election did more than put a demented cheater in the Oval Office. It unleashed destruction like we’ve never seen. From military endeavors to energy independence, we’ve become fools on the global stage. The list of failures is so long, I don’t want to risk carpal tunnel syndrome from typing it, again. But this inflation, is so bad, it had to be renamed to reflect the man behind it all– Biden.
The rising prices of food, utilities, and gasoline have more than wiped out the supposed pay raises the American worker saw over the past year. It’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. We’re moving in a negative direction.
When my grandfather died, I found a stack of ration books from WWII. Families were limited in what they could buy, and let’s get real here. We aren’t too far from that happening again.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that its consumer price index jumped 8.5% in March from 12 months earlier — the biggest year-over-year increase since December 1981. Prices have been driven up by bottlenecked supply chains, robust consumer demand and disruptions to global food and energy markets worsened by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The government’s report also showed that inflation rose 1.2% from February to March, up from a 0.8% increase from January to February.
The March inflation numbers were the first to capture the full surge in gasoline prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Moscow’s brutal attacks have triggered far-reaching Western sanctions against the Russian economy and have disrupted global food and energy markets. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gasoline — $4.10 — is up 43% from a year ago, though it has fallen back in the past couple of weeks.
The escalation of energy prices has led to higher transportation costs for the shipment of goods and components across the economy, which, in turn, has contributed to higher prices for consumers.
The latest evidence of accelerating prices will solidify expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates aggressively in the coming months to try to slow borrowing and spending and tame inflation. The financial markets now foresee much steeper rate hikes this year than Fed officials had signaled as recently as last month.
Even before Russia’s war further spurred price increases, robust consumer spending, steady pay raises and chronic supply shortages had sent U.S. consumer inflation to its highest level in four decades. In addition, housing costs, which make up about a third of the consumer price index, have escalated, a trend that seems unlikely to reverse anytime soon.
While Democrats were busy creating toilet paper shortages and stores were forced to ration goods, Americans tightened their belts.
Economists point out that as the economy has emerged from the depths of the pandemic, consumers have been gradually broadening their spending beyond goods to include more services. A result is that high inflation, which at first had reflected mainly a shortage of goods — from cars and furniture to electronics and sports equipment — has been emerging in services, too, like travel, health care and entertainment.
The expected fast pace of the Fed’s rate increases will make loans sharply more expensive for consumers and businesses. Mortgage rates, in particular, though not directly influenced by the Fed, have rocketed higher in recent weeks, making home buying more expensive. Many economists say they worry that the Fed has waited too long to begin raising rates and might end up acting so aggressively as to trigger a recession.
For now, the economy as a whole remains solid, with unemployment near 50-year lows and job openings near record highs. Still, rocketing inflation, with its impact on Americans’ daily lives, is posing a political threat to President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies as they seek to keep control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.
No More #Winning
Sadly, the one thing Joe Biden will be remembered for is that he cancelled #winning. Wherever Trump put us on top, Biden shot us to the bottom.
Inflation, which had been largely under control for four decades, began to accelerate last spring as the U.S. and global economies rebounded with unexpected speed and strength from the brief but devastating coronavirus recession that began in the spring of 2020.
The recovery, fueled by huge infusions of government spending and super-low interest rates, caught businesses by surprise, forcing them to scramble to meet surging customer demand. Factories, ports and freight yards struggled to keep up, leading to chronic shipping delays and price spikes.
Critics also blame, in part, the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion March 2021 stimulus program, which included $1,400 relief checks for most households, for helping overheat an already sizzling economy.
Many Americans have been receiving pay increases, but the pace of inflation has more than wiped out those gains for most people. In February, after accounting for inflation, average hourly wages fell 2.5% from a year earlier. It was the 11th straight monthly drop in inflation-adjusted wages.
Unfortunately, it’s the hardest working families that are hit the hardest.
It doesn’t matter how many excuses Biden makes. Because excuses don’t pay the bills or feed the kids.
Once you make just enough to get off the poverty level, you no longer qualify for food stamps, but you can’t afford food. You can’t get rental assistance, but you can’t pay the rent. To be fair, these are the kinds of families that don’t want public assistance, but the fact that middle class families can’t make it is a tragedy that continues to spread deeper and wider.
Still, Democrats refuse to thrown in the towel. They just continue to ride this freight train to hell and they don’t care how many of us will go down, just as long as we got rid of the orange man.