Charles Hugh Smith – We are constantly bombarded with two messages about inflation:
1. Inflation is near-zero
2. This worries the Federal Reserve terribly, because stable prices are deflationary and deflation is (for reasons that are never explained) like the financial Black Plague that will wipe out humanity if it isn’t vanquished by a healthy dose of inflation (i.e. getting less for your money).
Those of us outside the inner circles of power are glad there’s no inflation, because we’d rather get more for our money (deflation) rather than less for our money (inflation). You know what I mean: the package that once held 16 ounces now only holds 13 ounces. A medication that once cost $79 now costs $79,000. (This is a much slighter exaggeration than you might imagine.)
Our excellent F-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft cost us taxpayers $54 million a piece. Now the replacement fighter, the wallowing collection of defective parts flying in close proximity known as the F-35 costs $250 million each–unless you want an engine in it. That’ll cost you extra, partner.
Despite all these widely known examples of rampant inflation, every month we’re told there’s no inflation. Just to reassure myself there’s no inflation, I looked up a few charts on the St. Louis Fed’s FRED database.
I have to say, I’m scratching my head here because the cost of things has gone up a lot since 2000.
The consumer price index is up 38% from 2000. Now if somebody were to give me a choice between getting 10 gallons of gasoline and 10 gallons minus 3.8 gallons of gasoline, I’d take the 10 gallons. So how the heck can a 38% increase be near-zero inflation?
If I took $38 of every $100 you earned, would you reckon I’d taken next to nothing from you? Do you earn 38% more than you did in 2000? If so, congratulations; most people can’t answer “yes.”
Inflation in Urban Areas Up
Urban-area rents are up 56% from 2000. Now this is even worse inflation, because you just paid $156 for what used to cost you only $100. Continue reading . . .
Charles Smith is a Guest Contributor for Shift Frequency – August 2015