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Milligan Hay - Iowa d:^)
Veteran Advisor

When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government

Amid the good news of a rebounding stock market and better job growth comes a warning: Inflation may flare up soon. If it does, don’t blame business.

Maybe you think it's crazy to worry about inflation when the consumer price index is rising at a modest 1.5% year over year. That's a valid point. It's also true that many of the items that make up inflation in our daily lives are climbing fast.

Raw food commodity indexes, for example, have hit all-time highs. And the broader CRB Commodity Index, including food, energy and industrial commodities, has run up 32% the past 12 months.

As anyone who owns a car or truck knows, oil prices have jumped 29% in the past year to more than $108 a barrel. This has pushed gasoline prices over $3.60 a gallon nationally, twice what they were when President Obama entered office.

As for that weak CPI, there are good reasons to question the government's benign official readings. Bill Simon is one of them. When the CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. arm talks, we listen. And last week he told consumers to get ready for a burst of "serious" inflation.

Toyota Motor Co. is another. Americans typically ignore the impact of a weaker dollar. But the biggest carmaker in the world has announced price hikes across the board for all of its vehicles, in large part due to the weaker U.S. currency.

Monetary officials, including the presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks of Richmond, Minneapolis and Dallas, have also weighed in. They too see inflation ahead and suggest the Fed may start raising rates soon.

John Williams, of the useful and iconoclastic Shadow Government Statistics website, measures prices the old-fashioned way. He employs the methodology used before 1992, when Labor Department changes started producing milder readings.

By his measure, inflation is close to 10%, tracking price increases for commodities, energy, food, precious metals and health care, among other items. Once this is recognized, expect business to get the blame and Congress to convene hearings on "price gouging," as it's done dozens of times (without finding any).

It's really government that causes inflation with actions such as:

• The $2 trillion in money created by the Fed under "quantitative easing" since 2008, an unprecedented shot of liquidity pumped straight into the economy.

• The $5.5 trillion in new debt added by our government in just three years — nearly a 60% rise.

• The Environmental Protection Agency's move to regulate all stationary producers of carbon dioxide, which has led businesses to put off large investments.

• The surge in regulation at all levels of government, which has added to small-business uncertainty and reduced hiring.

• The record 29% jump in federal spending in President Obama's first three years, which has crowded out private spending and business investment.

• Spending on TARP and "stimulus," which could total nearly $2 trillion when all is said and done.

The list goes on. The point is, don't blame companies like Wal-Mart, a proven price cutter, when inflation hits home.

Blame the federal government, which seems dead set on repeating the same errors it made in the stagflationary 1970s.

 

5 Replies
schnurrbart
Veteran Advisor

Re: When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government

For those who say that oil prices dictate gas prices.  Check this out and tell me why.

 

Month Price per Gallon of Gas 
Price per Barrel of Oil 
 Jan $2.52 $58.30
 Feb $2.69 $54.65
 Mar $2.77 $55.42
 Apr $3.16 $62.50
 May $3.53 $62.94
 Jun $3.42 $62.85
 Jul $3.40 $66.28
 Aug $3.27 $64.93
 Sep $2.93 $55.73
 Oct $2.59 $50.98

 

It doesn't always go with the flow.  

r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government


@schnurrbart wrote:

For those who say that oil prices dictate gas prices.  Check this out and tell me why.

 

Month Price per Gallon of Gas 
Price per Barrel of Oil 
 Jan $2.52 $58.30
 Feb $2.69 $54.65
 Mar $2.77 $55.42
 Apr $3.16 $62.50
 May $3.53 $62.94
 Jun $3.42 $62.85
 Jul $3.40 $66.28
 Aug $3.27 $64.93
 Sep $2.93 $55.73
 Oct $2.59 $50.98

 

It doesn't always go with the flow.  


Gasoline is just one product made from a barrel of oil. It has to compete with diesel fuel, jet fuel, heat oil, etc. As demand for heating increases refiners refine more heating oil than gasoline. This holds to line on heating oil prices but puts upward momentum on gasoline prices. Also during certain parts of the year there is a higher demand for gasoline and EPA mandates about the blends. Then of course you have the whims of the paper traders.

schnurrbart
Veteran Advisor

Re: When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government

NO, no, no.  We have been told since 1972 that the price of oil dictates the price of gasoline.  You know when there is a hint of trouble in the Middle East, oil goes up and gas jumps 4-5 cents on the day the headline hits but then when the price of oil goes down, it takes a month for gas to drop a penny.

Papa Wheelie
Senior Contributor

Re: When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government

Gasoline is a by-product of refining heating oil. The more heating oil produced, the more gasoline available.

 

 

 

 

wehav
Senior Contributor

Re: When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government

too many governemnt workers, too many government projects, too many on the dole