Do you know what inflation is? Actually it’s a word – concept somewhat difficult to define. In Layman’s terms, it means that you and I have to pay more money for the very same goods and services without a similar increase in value. More money, the less or the same goods and services.
Inflation means that the dollar has less purchasing power. Goods and services simply cost more money whether or not there’s justification for the price increase. In some cases, there is. Wages are higher. The cost of raw materials to make the goods may also be higher, or very difficult to get. The consumer demand, you and I the buyers, exceeds the supply. It is difficult to get them, there are waiting lists and the leverage for pricing shifts to the seller. Bottom line: you and I simply pay more for the same.
A labor department measurement known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) tells us in broad generalities how pricing occurs. It takes the pricing perimeters for those goods and services, like automobiles, energy, certain foods, tracks their average prices and computes pricing up and down. So far, this year, on an annual basis, prices have increased 6.5%, the largest year–over–year increase since 2008. Inflation, which eviscerates the purchasing power of the dollar is on the rise.
Many economists regard inflation as a so – called hidden tax on the American people. The bottom line, again, is less purchasing power for the dollar. Inflation can occur for short periods of time (transitory) or it can be persistent and long–term in nature. The longer it exists, the larger the problem it becomes.
Automobiles are one Consumer Price Index (CPI) pricing measurement. Used vehicle prices have increased 24.4% in the last twelve months. That is simply unbelievable. Pricing for new vehicles rose to almost 9% for the year. Renting cars or trucks have had price increases at an average of a whopping 43% in the last twelve months, statistics rather unbelievable.
Food and energy prices have increased dramatically. Beef prices for example have increased almost 18% over the last twelve months. Fresh fish and seafood have increased some 11%, major appliances have increased almost 10% while furniture and bedding rose 11%. Therefore, the dollar you earn has decreased in value by those very same percentages.
Housing costs have been soaring, up nearly 20% nationwide in the past year. These price increases are caused at least in part by so – called supply – chain shortages. Somewhere along the production line, essentials are missing, hard to get and of course more expensive.
Farmland and in fact all raw land has increased in pricing exponentially. In some cases, prices have more than doubled. There seems to be so much money chasing any real and good assets that sellers in some cases can virtually name their price. Interest rates are at an all time low, barely above zero in some cases and in others, actually below zero. There are instances where depositors actually pay banks to hold their money.
In addition, the Biden Administration now wants to spend $5.5 trillion dollars of money, none of which the Federal Government has. If that occurs, if that legislation passes, the American debt will skyrocket, taxes will be dramatically increased, and the rules and regulations issued by the Federal Government will produce a new kind of socialistic control in Washington which will be unbelievably detrimental to WE THE PEOPLE, the American economy and the horrendous tax increases we will pay as a result of this new debt. It is indeed an uncertain even frightening day for the American economy.
We the American consumers, the American shoppers, face “empty shelves”. Whole sections of goods and merchandise are missing, shelves are empty, and so many normal supply – chains have been disrupted. Recall the unbelievable number of ships docked in West Coast ports, full of merchandise and waiting to be unloaded. There are no workers to do so, so we are told. Governments, Federal and State, fail to take action. Unions and union workers seem not to respond. Now comes the holiday season and consumers clamor for these unloaded goods and it is questionable whether or not some will make it to stores in time for the holidays. Demand greatly exceeds the supply and the bottom line is:
UP GO THE PRICES.
Recall when the pandemic began at or about March 2020, there was a severe shortage of toilet paper and in fact many other paper products. Hoarding occurred. Consumers bought products when available in massive quantities deeply concerned with future problems. Stores rationed the purchasing of many goods and of course, as they did, up went prices again. That very same economic phenomenon may well be happening today.
One severe problem is the lack of so – called chips. They are essential for the manufacturing of so many goods, including and especially automobiles. Workers are scarce. COVID restrictions make necessary workers even scarcer. Raw materials necessary for chip construction are limited or in some cases not available. The manufacturing process is subject to any number of disruptions and difficulties. If you can buy the goods you want now or for the holidays, you the consumer will be fortunate to find them and if you do, you can be sure you will pay more. INFLATION AT WORK. Take today’s pricing of milk and dairy products for example. In some areas, a gallon of milk can cost as much as eight dollars, doubling the pricing of some two years ago.
In different times, consumers could boycott, refuse to purchase or otherwise put pressure on sellers and supply – chain providers. But not today. Purchasing leverage exists entirely with the sellers. Sellers can limit purchasing, raise prices at will, even require premiums for the purchase of certain items, above and sometimes well above list price, all legitimate economic tactics however painful producing more and more profit. Fortunately, overall, our American dollar holds strong even though it is weakened in terms of former purchasing power. WE THE PEOPLE have to be aware of what is happening economically, and above all, we must be aware of the insidious taxing nature of INFLATION. Budgets will have to be adjusted. Planning for purchases such as automobiles, appliances, even housing and homes must now take into account the inflationary spiral and the sometimes–dramatic increase in cost. Inflation virtually destroyed the German economy after WWI. We tend to believe that will never happen in America but unless people in power recognize and deal with this problem, it will only get worse. Do your very best to understand inflation. Understand how it occurs, what it is, and how it may apply to your life personally and your budget. We need new life style strategies while this new and dangerous economic phenomenon, this new tax, does continuous hard to our life styles and our budgets.