Commentary: Massive Government Spending Has Caused High Inflation Levels and a Weakening U.S. Dollar

$100 bills in rubber bands

Inflation is up 4.92 percent the past 12 months as of May, the most since July 2008’s 5.5 percent, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, amid a torrent of trillions of dollars of government spending, Federal Reserve money printing and a weakening dollar combined with the continued economic rebound led by reopening businesses from the 2020 Covid lockdowns.

The past three months alone, inflation has grown at an accelerated rate of 2 percent combined. If that trend were to hold up for the rest of the year, inflation would come closer to 8 percent.

In the month of May, price jumps in fuel oil at 2.1 percent and piped gas service at 1.7 percent offset a 0.7 percent drop in gasoline prices. In addition, new car prices grew 1.6 percent. Used cars and trucks grew at 7.3 percent again after a 10 percent jump in April. Apparel jumped 1.2 percent. And transportation services grew 1.5 percent after a 2.9 percent jump in April.

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Inflation Surges Five Percent, Largest Spike Since 2008

The Consumer Price Index has increased 5% over the last 12 months, the fastest pace of inflation since August 2008, according to a Department of Labor report.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a common tool used to measure inflation, increased 0.6% between April and May, according to the Labor Department report released Thursday morning. Economists projected that the CPI increased by 0.5% and 4.7% over the 12-month period ending in May, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Yellen Admits Inflation Is About to Surge But Says It Will Be ‘Plus For Society’s Point of View’

Janet Yellen

Increased inflation could ultimately be a net positive for the U.S. economy and large government spending won’t overheat the economy, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Bloomberg.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who previously chaired the Federal Reserve, said the central bank has been more concerned about inflation levels that are too low, according to Bloomberg. Increasing consumer prices could signal a return to normal, she said.

“We’ve been fighting inflation that’s too low and interest rates that are too low now for a decade,” Yellen told Bloomberg in an interview Sunday.

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Higher Inflation Has Arrived, But Economy Unlikely to Reach 1970s Levels, Report Says

While rapidly increasing consumer prices have triggered fears that the U.S. economy may enter into a period of stagflation, it is unlikely to hit 1970s levels, an economic report concluded.

The current condition of the U.S. economy has created some fear that prices may precipitously and uncontrollably rise while unemployment stays elevated, according to the report authored by Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Director Norbert Michel. But an analysis of inflation and employment data suggests Americans don’t need to overreact.

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Top Economists Expect Inflation to ‘Accelerate Strongly’ in Coming Weeks

Woman shopping

Economists expect inflation to “accelerate strongly” in the coming weeks and months, but said consumer prices would eventually moderate.

The consumer price index (CPI), a common measure for inflation, is expected to rise 2.8% in 2021 and 2.3% in 2022 compared to the 1.2% increase that occurred in 2020, according to economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

The projection, released Monday, reflected the Federal Reserve consensus that inflation will heat up by the end of the year before cooling down as the economic recovery continues.

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Republicans Release Plan to Address Growing Inflation Under Biden Administration

High gas prices

Congressional Republicans grabbed headlines this week after releasing an aggressive budget they say would cut taxes and spending, but key measures in the plan also would address one of the country’s most serious economic problems.

The House’s Republican Study Committee released a budget that lays out several measures to deal with inflation, a growing concern among economists after the latest federal data showed a spike in consumer prices. Notably, the index for used cars and trucks rose 10%, the largest one-month increase since BLS began recording the data in 1953. Food and energy costs rose 0.9% in the month of April, prescription drugs rose 0.5%, and gasoline rose 1.4% during the same month. The energy cost index rose 25% in the previous 12 months.

Republicans on the committee say their plan would address concerns over inflation by balancing the budget within five years, thereby eliminating the need to monetize debt, a process where the federal government prints money to make payments on what it owes. The national debt has soared to more than $28 trillion and is expected to continue climbing under President Joe Biden’s new spending plans.

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Commentary: Price Stability, not Inflation, Will Get the U.S. Economy Back to Full Employment Sooner Rather than Later

2020 and 2021 are two sides of the same coin: Price instability brought about by the dollar being either relatively too strong or too weak, which can lead to or exacerbate economic slowdowns, creating higher unemployment and worse if the conditions persist for too long.

In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the problems included the global economy being shut down plus local lockdowns resulting in a massive recession and a flight to safety into U.S. treasuries as interest rates collapsed, making the dollar too strong. With the onset of deflation, consumer prices plummeted in March and April 2020, with oil even dropping briefly below zero dollars for the first time in history, and a concurrent rise of unemployment as 25 million Americans lost their jobs.

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Consumer Prices Increase 4.2 Percent to the Highest Level Since 2008

The consumer price index has jumped 4.2% over the last 12 months, the fastest pace of inflation since 2008, according to a Department of Labor report.

The consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.8% between March and April, according to the Labor Department report released Wednesday morning. Economists projected that the CPI increased by 0.2% last month and 3.6% over the 12-month period ending in April, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Commentary: Joe Biden, Economy Killer

President Joe Biden

Along with a working vaccine, Joe Biden inherited a V-shaped economic recovery, but he is now planting the seeds of its destruction. Inflation, federal deficits, high taxes, incentives for workers to stay home, and incentives to avoid investment – they’re all coming back. Together, these elements create the perfect brew for a Lyndon Johnson-style stagflation. If Biden and the Democrats so quickly wreck the good economic path they were given, it will be one of the worst examples of government malpractice in U.S. economic history. 

In the first, dark days of the COVID-19 national economic shutdown last spring, there was a clear need for major stimulus. Both parties united to pass an effective and much-needed response. 

The U.S. gross domestic product saw a 33.4% surge in the July-September third quarter of 2020, after plunging 31.4% in the April-June second quarter. The economy continued to grow at a 4% rate in the fourth quarter, and the stock market (despite COVID) ended 2020 with the S&P 500 index up 16% for the year as a whole. 

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Gas, Other Consumer Prices Spike in First Quarter of 2021

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Tuesday showing a sharp increase in consumer prices, especially gasoline, as many Americans struggle to make ends meet.

March saw a 0.6% increase in consumer prices, the largest spike in nearly a decade. That increase can be attributed in large part to a rise in inflation.

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