The Highest Rate in 40 Years
Washington, D.C., February 10, 2022
Tags: Jobs and Economic Growth
Is your wallet a little lighter these days? Well, this morning’s news from the U.S. Labor Department isn’t good. January data was just released, showing the prices we pay for goods & services have risen an average of 7.5% over the last year. That’s the highest rate in the past 40 years.
Groceries: up 7.4% year over year. Gasoline: up 40%. Clothing: up 5%. Used cars: up 40%. Average cost of electricity: up 10%. Some categories are faring better than others, but overall, inflation continues to be a major concern under the Biden Administration.
Inflation spikes can be absorbed (for a short while) if wages are also rising at the same pace. But they’re not! Annual wage growth is only around 4.5%. So if a family is earning 4.5% more while prices are 7.5% higher, something MUST cover that 3-point spread. That family either must: (1) cut back on spending; (2) cut back on savings; or (3) take on debt. Whether the choice is conscious or not, there’s no other way around it.
The unfortunate reality is that the Federal Reserve likely needs to start raising interest rates, VERY carefully, for a period of time. Nobody’s happy about this because higher interest rates typically slow the economy. However, a minor slowing of our economy may help smooth out the imbalances between supply & demand, ease supply chain bottlenecks, and (hopefully) stop this inflation from continuing to spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, if President Biden truly wants to help, he needs to back off on his ridiculous Covid mandates and restrictions that are just making our supply chain problems worse. For example, Biden now requires truckers from Mexico to be vaccinated before they can deliver their cargo into the United States. Yes, truckers, who are usually alone in their cabs all day. (And no, Biden has made no similar requirement of the 2 million illegal immigrants he allowed to cross our border last year.)
And if Democrats in Congress want to help, they need to stop trying to resurrect their “Build Back Broke” social spending plan. Talk about pouring gasoline onto a fire, for the federal government to pump trillions of additional, unnecessary spending into our economy right now would be a disaster.