7.5% Inflation Rate? – I’m Not Buying It

Categories : Financial, News
February 16, 2022

Inflation is ubiquitous, reminders are everywhere, and nearly every American is feeling the pinch. Go to any gas station, grocery store, restaurant, car dealer—you name the place, and inflation has preceded your visit. This week we were informed by the Bureau of Labor Standards, or BLS, (the government agency assigned to monitor, calculate, and report cost-of-living changes) that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicated a 12-month price level increase of 7.5%.

I’ll have none of that, thank you.

Let’s look at some of the items. We’ll start with their more believable numbers, just to be fair. According to BLS, the 12-month increases for:

  • Used automobiles: up 40.5%
  • Gasoline: up 40.0%
  • Rental cars: up 29.3%
  • Transportation: up 20.8%
  • Hotel Rooms: up 20.3%
  • Furniture: up 17.0%
  • Household Energy: up 14.7%

From there, I am suspicious regarding other items of everyday consumption, including:

  • Food at home: up 7.4% (Who are they trying to kid? Grocery stores have raised prices on most of the items we buy far more than 7.4%. Worse, this totally ignores the phenomenon of “shrinkflation,” where we pay the same or more to receive a lesser quantity.)
  • Food at Restaurants: up 6.4% (This may be the biggest joke of all, as restaurant prices have skyrocketed. Also, I suspect that portion sizes have suffered shrinkflation, as well.)
  • Housing: up 5.7% (Home buyers have experienced an average 19% price increase over 12 months, plus higher mortgage interest rates. Current owners are experiencing dramatic increases for insurance, utilities, upgrades, and repair costs.)
  • Rent: up 3.8% (Who are they trying to hornswoggle? Landlords are raking in rent increases across the country. According to Money Magazine, rents have increased 14.1% in the past year. A similar analysis by Weiss Ratings found overall rents up 11% in 2021.)

Applying actual cost numbers would elevate the CPI increase to over 10%, and likely quite a bit higher. Expect continuing CPI increases and little action from our elected representatives. If Congress would control its own spending, encourage energy production, and reduce regulation of business, we could experience relief in a relatively short time. I am not optimistic, at least not for the next several months.

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