Crime is Not Down, Bidenflation is Real, the Border is Not Secure, and ‘Migrants’ are Illegal Aliens

A few thoughts from the peanut gallery: opinion backed by facts

Crime is not down, Bidenflation is real, the Border is not secure, boys can’t be girls, progressives are not “progressive,” and “Migrants” are illegal aliens and some are terrorists.

It’s time to get a few things straight.

The pro-Hamas, pro-Palestine protests on universities are not peaceful, nor are they organic. They are being funded by corrupt elitists the way ACORN, BLM and the George Floyd mobs were.

Fentanyl from China has killed more Americans than died in the Vietnam War – more than 80,000 overdoses occurred in 2021 and approximately 77,415 between April 2022 and April 2023, according to the CDC.

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“Climate Change” originated in the United Nations and is a redistribution-of-wealth scheme – even the BBC knows this.

Democrats are socialists and Marxists – the Democratic Socialists of America is theirs. (What is Democratic about them anyway?) Are there Republican Socialists of America within the Republican Party? Nope.

Today’s so-called “progressives” are not – they are antiquated emotional reactionaries.

Trans-kids and “Gender-affirming care” is being pushed by global elitists – and China. The Biden Administration has ordered men into women’s shelters, medically transitioned children, used school lunch programs for poor children as leverage to force schools to adopt the rainbow agenda, and let males into girls’ locker rooms, the Ethics in Public Policy Center acknowledges. “And, of course, pretty much every major left-wing group has followed the LGBT lobby into pushing a radical transgender agenda.”

Boys with male genitalia and the XY chromosome are not girls. In humans, sex is determined by specific chromosomes – XX female, XY male. That’s just science and should not require a link.

Title IX was passed in 1972 and prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

There is nothing about gender identity or trans persons in Title IX:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

I have lived Title IX and know it intimately. Challenge me. Please.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is one of the corrupt elitists, part of the ruthless, sadistic ruling class, beholden to the UN, EU, WEF, WHO and China. He doesn’t govern California for the people; he is helping to destroy it. Human Events has reported extensively on the Young Global Leaders (YGLs) of the WEF:

“WEF doesn’t discriminate based on party – it recruits politicians from both sides. This is especially true in the United States. Dan CrenshawGavin NewsomAdam KinzingerPete ButtigiegNikki HaleyTulsi Gabbard, Texas Congressman Colin Allred, and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego have all been named as YGLs.”

“Business leaders like Bill GatesJeff BezosMark ZuckerbergLarry Page and Sergey Brin are all listed as YGL alumni.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

California ranks dead last for job growth in US

Golden State bosses added workers at a 0.87% rate in 2023

The last time California ranked 51st for job growth before 2023 was the year Bill Clinton was sworn in as president, Beanie Babies were introduced, the first “Jurassic Park” hit the big screen, and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was No. 1 on the charts.

Yes, 1993 was a long time ago.

My trusty spreadsheet – looking at revised employment stats for California, 49 other states, and the District of Columbia from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – found the Golden State bosses adding workers at a 0.87% rate in 2023.

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While any job growth is good, that hiring pace looked meager in an otherwise strong US labor market. California’s hiring pace also was less than half the 2% rate nationally. Second-slowest was D.C. at 0.91%.

Please note, the fastest job growth was happening in key economic rival states. Nevada and Florida gained 3.4% and Texas rose by 3.3%.

California’s economy juggled numerous challenges in 2023, including a weakening technology sector, labor unrest making it the nation’s strike hub, and population outflow – which created a shortage of workers to hire. There’s no doubt the state’s reputation as a tough place to do business doesn’t help.

Some California industries are in reverse gear. State jobs stats show noteworthy job cuts in the movie business, off 25% – major strikes all but shut production; at temp agencies, off 14% – drops common when hiring slows; lending, off 9% – rising rates slashed borrowing; and at warehouses, off 5% – online shopping has cooled.

And geographically speaking, some of California’s biggest job markets were weak: San Francisco jobs fell by 1% while employment grew only 0.3% in Los Angeles County and rose 0.4% around San Jose.

But tumbling to the bottom of the hiring rankings isn’t California’s style.

Remember 1993? When a California house cost $190,000, L.A.’s Metro subway opened, and the first PDF documents were created.

Looking back over 50 years, that year was the only other time that California was the worst state for job growth. The state’s job count shrank by 1% in 1993 largely due to a major loss of aerospace work and the fallout from a real estate crash.

Think about who’s been No. 51 in hiring more often since 1974: DC (6 times), Michigan (5 times), Alaska and West Virginia (4), and Louisiana, New York, North Dakota, and Wyoming (3).

One year earlier

It’s a swift reversal for California.

In 2022, coming off some of the nation’s tightest pandemic business limitations, jobs grew statewide by 5.5% – the fourth-best increase among the states. But replacing all the jobs lost during the coronavirus economic chill ended abruptly.

California’s 4.6-percentage-point drop in hiring pace between these two years was exceeded only by Nevada’s 4.9 dip. Nationally, job growth was off, too,  but only by 1.6 percentage points.

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Now over the years California has been more likely to be a hiring leader than laggard.

Last year was the state’s seventh year in the bottom 10 in the past half-century, ranking it No. 26 among the states for bad job markets. The states earning this dubious distinction most often were West Virginia (25 times), then Connecticut (22), Pennsylvania and Rhode Island (20), and DC and New Jersey (19).

But 2022 was California’s 13th year in the top 10 for hiring. But that’s not nearly a national high.

Nevada’s been in the top 10 in 38 of these 50 years. Next comes Arizona and Florida with 33 years, Idaho at 30, Utah at 29, and Texas at 26.

Bottom line

Yes, California – the nation’s largest job market – has consistently outperformed most states.

Over 50 years, California’s 1.8% average annual growth ranks No. 19 and beats the 1.5% national pace. Tops? Nevada at 3.8%, Arizona at 3.1%, Utah at 2.9%, Florida at 2.6%, and Idaho and Texas at 2.5%.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Seven Of Top Ten Most Expensive Cities In US Are In California

San Francisco requires a whopping $339,123 a year for a family of four to live comfortably

Financial tech company Smart Asset just released a new study of the most expensive cities in the United States to live in comfortably, with seven of the top ten located in California.

Previous studies have shown a similarly high number of cities in California among the most expensive to live in in the country. In November, a study by U.S. News and World Report found that San Diego is the most expensive city to live in in 2023, with 12 of the top 20 most expensive cities located within California. However, while previous lists have largely used flat expenses, the Smart Asset survey broke it down between what single people need against what a couple with two children would need to live comfortably.

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While New York came in as the most expensive city to live comfortably, San Jose came in a close second. According to Smart Asset, a single adult would need $65.74 an hour, or $136,739 a year to live comfortably, with a family of four needing $334,547 a year. Irvine and Santa Ana came in third in the country and second overall in California in a tie, with both cities needing an hourly wage of $60.96 for a single person, $126,797 annually for a single person, and $291,450 annually for a family of four.

In addition, San Diego, Chula Vista, San Francisco, and Oakland all made the top ten, with all four requiring between $57 and $59 an hour for a single person.

The other figures varied, with San Francisco requiring a whopping $339,123 a year for a family of four to live comfortably. Cracking the top 20 also saw the inclusion of Anaheim, Long Beach, and Los Angeles. In comparison, the cheapest Californian city, Bakersfield, was only ranked as the 36th cheapest in the country, with an hourly salary of $42.88, or $89,190 yearly, being needed for a single adult, and a family of four needing $218,150 a year.

For the study, Smart Asset used the 50/30/20 methodology. Under the method, 50% of a salary should be allocated to needs, 30% toward wants like entertainment and hobbies, and 20% toward paying off debt, saving or investing.

“This survey is interesting because large states like California, Las Vegas, Texas, Arizona and other Sun Belt states have such a wide degree of costs, ” Marilyn Dorian, a cost of living advisor based in Southern California, told the Globe. “Many large cities in California are still cheaper to live in than cities where many Californians are moving to in other states. Even those with much lower taxes. I mean, that’s Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, Sacramento. There’s a reason they’ve gained population.”

Click here to read the full article in California Globe

California food prices could get even more expensive as fast food wages set to increase

LOS ANGELES – The rising cost of groceries has left consumers feeling the pinch, and now, as California greenlights a $20 minimum wage for fast food workers, residents are bracing themselves for potential price hikes in the fast food industry. 

In September, a moment of victory and applause reverberated when Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a $20-an-hour minimum wage for fast food workers, like Anisha Williams, marking a significant increase from the existing rates. 

While some larger fast food franchises, such as Chipotle, currently promise $16.25 per hour, the state minimum wage is set to rise to $17 an hour in January, with the new wage for larger fast food franchises reaching $20 an hour in April.

This significant pay raise for fast food workers may have unintended consequences for consumers.

McDonald’s and Chipotle are already in discussions about raising their prices to offset the increased labor costs. 

Even before this wage increase takes effect, customers are feeling the financial impact of dining out.

Brianna Sosana, a resident of Huntington Park, reminisced about the days when meals could be bought for just a dollar, whereas now, a simple meal can easily cost $10 or more. 

Tina Carranza from Bell Gardens expressed concerns about the rising prices and the potential burden on families, with a single meal costing up to $20.

Caila Glickman, a Silver Lake resident, highlighted the challenge of affording fast food meals, noting that lunch often costs her more than $15, which is unsustainable for her daily expenses.

While many recognize that they pay for the convenience and speed of fast food, some individuals, like Brenda Perez, a Huntington Park business owner, are willing to adapt if prices increase significantly, but they acknowledge that such an increase would need to be substantial to deter them from frequenting these establishments.

Click here to read the full article in Fox11

The Manchin, Schumer ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ is a Fraud

Let’s look at just how the Manchin, Schumer mini version of Build Back Better is supposed to fight inflation

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is rushing to push through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

I don’t blame him. The more scrutiny the mini-Build Back Better proposal gets, the worse it looks.  

Let’s start with the obvious: despite its Ministry of Disinformation title, the legislation will not reduce inflation. Analysis from the Penn Wharton Budget Model concludes “the impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero.”    

This is the same PWBM that Schumer touted when opposing the GOP tax bill a while back and that Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., describes as “well respected by both sides of the aisle.” 

In addition, promises that the bill will reduce our fiscal deficit rely on optimistic assumptions about what a beefed-up the IRS will sniff out in the way of tax fraud and $313 billion in proceeds from a tax on corporations that is so injurious to our manufacturers that even Democrats will likely decide to pare it back.

As to making what President Joe Biden calls an historic investment in combatting climate change, it seems unlikely that expanding tax credits for buying even more EVs and subsidizing more renewables will solve the gritty problems of raw materials shortages and other issues sure to be complicated by the “made in America” provisions of the bill.

So, chances are that while it checks a number of satisfying boxes for Democrats running scared ahead of the midterms, this bill will not reduce inflation, will not bring down our deficit and will not have much impact on the climate.

Moreover, it will raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000, belying a critical promise made by President Joe Biden and repeated just recently by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is promoting this damaging bill. 

Otherwise, it’s a terrific piece of legislation that just magically appeared full-blown at 700-plus pages out of a darkened basement, rather like our befuddled and wildly unpopular president. 

Let’s review. How is this bill supposed to fight inflation? First, by allowing the government to negotiate certain drug prices, which supposedly will save $288 billion over 10 years.

Fully 40% of that ($122 billion) comes from revoking a rule put in place by the Trump administration that was never going to be implemented anyway. Such are the games played in this legislation. 

There is no doubt that the government could effectively set prices on a variety of drugs, since it controls roughly 36% of total healthcare spending. But drug companies, hit by those price limits, are almost sure to raise prices on other products, new drugs or even on those same products marketed to private customers. They will not simply absorb the lower profits delivered by the feds, nor should they. 

Plus, the rising cost of prescription drug prices is not driving inflation. In fact, in May, while the Consumer Price Index rose 8.6%, prices paid for prescription drugs rose less than 2%. 

So, capping a commodity that is not actually contributing much to inflation cannot be expected to bring it down. 

Second, the bill will purportedly fight inflation by bringing down the deficit. Of course, since Democrats deny that their reckless $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan blew up our already bloated budget deficit and delivered inflation, this is a tricky argument. 

Apparently, some deficits are worse than others.

In any event, the deficit impact depends partly on whether giving the IRS an additional $80 billion will yield substantial incremental revenues. 

In an earlier iteration of Build Back Better, the Biden administration estimated such an investment in tax snoops would yield $316 billion over 10 years; the nonpartisan CBO cut that down to $200 billion. Now Democrats estimate the windfall at $124 billion, a further downgrade that does little to build our confidence.

The other source of increased revenue comes from tax hikes that, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, would raise an additional $16.7 billion on American taxpayers earning less than $200,000 in 2023. The proposal would raise another $14.1 billion from taxpayers earning between $200,000 and $500,000.

Moreover, over the 10-year window covered by the bill, the average tax rate paid by every single income category would increase.

That’s because the 15% minimum tax on “book” corporate profits – profits reduced by the immediate expensing of depreciation for tax purposes – will stifle business spending that increases productivity and that leads to wage increases. And, because corporations don’t eat those tax hikes – they pass them along via lower wages and reduced investment. CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

The National Association of Manufacturers says the tax next year will reduce income for workers by $17.1 billion – and that’s just one year. They conclude it will also cost 218,108 workers their jobs.

The bill, though, will give hefty taxpayer handouts to some favored industries. The Wall Street Journal notes that “companies will get tax credits for spending on wind, solar, critical minerals, biofuels, hydrogen, carbon capture, nuclear, “sustainable” aviation fuel, lithium-ion batteries, electric-vehicle charging stations and more.” 

We’ve seen how successful the federal government can be when picking winners and losers. Remember Solyndra?

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews.com

Biden Opts to Redefine ‘Recession’ Rather Than Beat It

Apparently it’s not a recession unless Biden cronies say it is.

What everybody thought constituted a recession no longer does.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.9 percent in the second quarter. This follows a 1.6 percent contraction in the first quarter.

Recession, right?

Well, heretofore two consecutive quarters of a shrinking economy meant recession. But our betters in the Biden administration gaslight enlighten us into seeing not the downturn before our eyes but an apparition of expanding economies past. Redefining recessions matters when they occur on the watch of Democrats at the levers of power who soon will face an angry electorate.

Since the Biden administration could teach a masterclass in spin but would fail Economics 101, the White House expends considerable energy on solving this terrible problem, this terrible problem of recalcitrants stuck on the idea that an economy in recession, well, recedes.

Whoever imagined that recession meant receding GDP never talked to National Economic Council Director Brian Deese. The Chip Diller of the Biden administration told CNN on Sunday that “in terms of the technical definition” two straight quarters of a contracting GDP actually is “not a recession.” He informed, “[The] technical definition considers a much broader spectrum of data points.”

Phew. For a minute it looked as though the twin terrors of Stagflation that plagued the Carter years now also would bedevil the Biden presidency. Good to know the real issue involves merely educating Americans that they do not know what they know and do not experience what they experience. Why did not Jimmy Carter think of this first?

President Biden doubled down on promoting public relations over sound economics on Thursday by claiming that “we’re not in a recession” according to the economists he respects and by boasting of a deal struck in the Senate that raises taxes, or, as the president put it, forces the wealthy and “the largest corporations in America to pay their fair share.” While common sense suggests to not raise taxes during a recession, Biden insists he does not do this because no recession exists.

The New York Times and the Washington Post quickly spread the gospel according to Joe Biden and Brian Deese.

Paul Krugman warned in the Times that “it would be foolish to declare that we’re in a recession even if Thursday’s number is negative and the first-quarter number isn’t revised upward.” Best, he explained, to wait for the word from “the people who actually decide whether we’re in a recession.”

What people? The American people who make up the market? Well, no. It turns out just eight professors.

Writes Krugman of the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Since 1978 the N.B.E.R. has had a standing group of experts called the Business Cycle Dating Committee, which decides — with a lag — when a recession began and ended based on multiple criteria, including employment, industrial production and so on. And the US government accepts those rulings. So the official definition of a recession is that it is a period that the committee has declared a recession; it’s an expert judgment call, not a formula.

Will this “lag” last beyond November, and did these experts vote for Joe Biden?

“The eight economists on the committee are among the most respected in their field,” the Washington Post maintains. “Some have served in Democratic administrations, but past members have also included GOP appointees.”

Past members, huh?

Current members include James Stock, who gave at least $1,000 each to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Pete Buttigieg. He sent $2,800 to Biden’s 2020 campaign. David Romer, who also sits on this council of elders, donated $5,600 to Joe Biden in the last presidential cycle. His wife, Christina Romer, chaired the council of economic advisors during the Obama administration before becoming part of this elite eight.

What the committee lacks in balance it makes up for in transparency, right?

Reports the Washington Post:The committee’s meetings are not publicized. They’re held in a closed-door conference room on the third floor of the Cambridge, Mass., office building where NBER is headquartered. They don’t meet on a fixed schedule: Board Chairman and Stanford economist Bob Hall is responsible for calling the meetings. During long periods of consistent economic growth, the board can go years without having anything to discuss, and therefore, it might hold no meetings. It wouldn’t even confirm when past meetings have happened.

Who knows? Maybe the NBER board will vote that America really is experiencing prosperity unmatched by the 1920s, 1960s, and 1980s combined. Such a proclamation by eight professors would really show the shrinking stock market, rising consumer prices, and declining productivity that happy days are here again.

Americans find their country in a recession. Americans find those who do not find their country in a recession in the Twilight Zone.

Click here to read the full article in the Spectator.org

Inflation Hits 9.1 Percent, Highest Level in 41 Years

Inflation picked up speed in June, rather than slowing.

Prices were 9.1 percent higher in June than a year before, exceeding expectations and surging to a 41-year high.

Department of Labor data released Wednesday morning showed that inflation picked up speed in June, rather than slowing. Prices rose by 1.3 percent during the month, up from a 1 percent increase in May. A sharp rise in energy prices, and gasoline prices particularly, helped power the annualized inflation rate to its highest levels in more than four decades. Food prices rose by 1 percent during June, and are up 10.4 percent over the past year.

Meanwhile, so-called “core inflation” which filters out the more volatile prices for energy and food, accelerated as well. That category saw a 0.7 percent increase in prices during June, up from 0.6 percent in May.

Wednesday’s topline inflation number came as a surprise—Dow Jones, which publishes expected inflation figures a few days before the official government data is released, expected 8.8 percent rather than 9.1—and might signal that the battle against rising prices will prove even more difficult.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75 percent at its meeting in June and is expected to do the same later this month. Economists polled by Reuters expect that further interest rate increases are on the horizon.

Higher interest rates should help slow inflation by signaling a marginal benefit to saving over spending. Inflation is the result of too many dollars chasing the same pile of goods and services, so higher interest rates make it less attractive to borrow and spend.

But how quickly that strategy will work remains an open question. Larry Summers, the former Obama administration treasury secretary who correctly warned about rising prices last year in the wake of the American Rescue Plan’s passage, believes it will be a persistent problem.

“There are no miracle cures or silver bullets,” Summers told a radio station in Boston last month. “Monetary policy, which what the Fed is doing, belatedly, does work with respect to inflation, but it takes quite a while.”

One potential glimmer of hope is in gasoline prices, which have been falling during July after rising sharply in June and being a major driver of overall inflation for much of the year. The national average today is $4.63 per gallon, according to AAA, down $0.14 from a week ago and $0.38 from this time last month. Falling gas prices might ease prices for other goods too, since they’ll make it less expensive to ship products across the country.

Another positive sign could be the glut of excess goods that retailers say they have to unload in the coming months. After months of pandemic-related supply chain snafus, department stores and other big retailers have piles of goods that they would have liked to sell long ago—which means consumers could be seeing big discounts for certain items, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Politically, however, gas prices well over $4 per gallon and persistently rising prices throughout the rest of the economy continue to be a yoke around President Joe Biden’s neck. Polls show that inflation and prices are Americans’ top concerns.

Click here to read the full article in Reason.org

Little Inflation Relief in Sight for California Shoppers as Meat, Other Food Costs Rise

Forget about ground chuck at $1.99 a pound for a while. Or $2.99 a pound, for that matter.

Ground beef is currently $3.47 per pound at Albertsons, which has locations and subsidiaries across California, with other options at $5.99 per pound for online shoppers.

There’s little relief in sight.

Increases in the cost of living continue to hit levels unseen in 40 years — the latest reading Wednesday was a 8.3% increase in the last 12 months.

Food prices are going up even faster. They’ve increased 9.4% over the last year.

Nate Rose, senior director of communications for the California Grocers Association, told The Bee that grocery store inflation is expected to continue through the rest of the year. But what prices will look like month to month for different food items at your grocery store is hard to predict.

“Grocery stores are doing everything they can to mitigate this inflation for their shoppers,” Rose said. Considering how competitive the industry is, he said, raising prices will be the last thing they want to do.

He said stores are trying to keep prices down for fresh goods, such as milk, eggs and meat, compared to what they could be with inflation, by analyzing price sensitivity, which is the degree at which prices change a customer’s purchasing decisions.

In combination with food price inflation and food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across California are still seeking resources from food banks, said Becky Silva, government relations director at the California Association of Food Banks.

“A lot of our food banks are still reporting that they’re seeing one and a half to three times the number of people coming to their distribution sites than before the pandemic,” Silva said.

With inflation prices at the supermarket, food banks are having trouble stocking their sites.

“A lot of food banks have told us that they’re paying, sometimes, even double what they used to pay for a dozen eggs,” Silva said, adding that some sites have used a disproportionate share of their annual funding for food purchases in just the first few months of the year.

CAN FOOD PRICES BE LOWERED?

There’s just no easy way to bring down food prices.

“The forces driving overall inflation are having an impact on food,” said Joseph Glauber, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, as the rising costs of energy, labor and other items help push food prices higher.

Click here to read the full article in the Modesto Bee

US Inflation Jumped 8.5% In Past Year, Highest Since 1981

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation soared over the past year at its fastest pace in more than 40 years, with costs for food, gasoline, housing and other necessities squeezing American consumers and wiping out the pay raises that many people have received.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that its consumer price index jumped 8.5% in March from 12 months earlier, the sharpest year-over-year increase since 1981. Prices have been driven up by bottlenecked supply chains, robust consumer demand and disruptions to global food and energy markets worsened by Russia’s war against Ukraine. From February to March, inflation rose 1.2%, the biggest month-to-month jump since 2005. Gasoline prices drove more than half that increase.

Across the economy, the year-over-year price spikes were widespread. Gasoline prices rocketed 48% in the past 12 months. Used car prices have soared 35%, though they actually fell in February and March. Bedroom furniture is up 14.7%, men’s suits and coats 14.5%. Grocery prices have jumped 10%, including 18% increases for both bacon and oranges.

Investors focused on a bright spot in the report and sent stock prices up: So-called core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose just 0.3% from February to March, the smallest monthly rise since September. Over the past year, though, core prices are up 6.5%, the most since 1982.

“The inflation fire is still out of control,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at the research firm FWDBONDS LLC.

The March inflation numbers were the first to fully capture the surge in gasoline prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Moscow’s attacks have triggered far-reaching Western sanctions against the Russian economy and disrupted food and energy markets. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gasoline — $4.10 — is up 43% from a year ago, though it’s dipped in the past couple of weeks.

The acceleration of inflation has occurred against the backdrop of a booming job market and a solid overall economy. In March, employers adding a robust 431,000 jobs — the 11th straight month in which they’ve added at least 400,000. For 2021, they added 6.7 million jobs, the most in any year on record. In addition, job openings are near record highs, layoffs are at their lowest point since 1968 and the unemployment rate is just above a half-century low.

The escalation of energy prices, a potential threat to the economy’s long-term durability, has led to higher transportation costs for the shipment of goods across the economy, which, in turn, has contributed to higher prices for consumers. The squeeze is being felt particularly hard at the gas pump.

“That’s an extra dollar per gallon that I’m paying to get into the city to work,” Jason Emerson of Oakland, California, said as he loaded groceries into his car. “And then, you know, we have the tolls that just went up this past year a dollar. My eggs are a dollar more as well. So everything’s going up at least a dollar, which, you know, adds up.’

The latest inflation numbers solidify expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates aggressively in the coming months to try to slow borrowing and spending and tame inflation.

Kathy Bostjancic, an economist at Oxford Economics, said she expects year-over-year inflation to hit 9% in May and then begin “a slow descent.” Some other economists, too, suggest that inflation is at or near its peak. With federal stimulus aid having expired, consumer demand could flag as wages fall behind inflation, households drain more of their savings and the Fed sharply raises rates, all of which could combine to slow inflation.

But that could take time. Robust spending, steady pay raises and chronic supply shortages are still fueling inflation. In addition, housing costs, which make up about a third of the consumer price index, have escalated, a trend that seems unlikely to reverse anytime soon.

Economists note that as the economy has emerged from the depths of the pandemic, consumers have been gradually broadening their spending beyond goods to include more services. A result is that high inflation, which at first had reflected mainly a shortage of goods — from cars and furniture to electronics and sports equipment — has been emerging in services, too, like travel, health care and entertainment. Airline fares, for instance, have soared an average of nearly 24% in the past 12 months. The average cost of a hotel room is up 29%

The expected fast pace of the Fed’s rate increases will make loans sharply more expensive for consumers and businesses. Mortgage rates, in particular, though not directly influenced by the Fed, have rocketed higher in recent weeks, making home buying costlier. Many economists say they worry that the Fed has waited too long to begin raising rates and might end up acting so aggressively as to trigger a recession.

The American public’s expectation for inflation over the next 12 months has reached its highest point — 6.6% — in a survey the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has conducted since 2013. Once public expectations for inflation rise, they can be self-fulfilling: Workers typically demand higher pay to offset their expectations for price increases. Businesses, in turn, raise prices to cover their higher labor costs. This can set off a wage-price spiral, something the nation last endured in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Click here to read the full article at the Mercury News

Inflation Is a Tax On Us All

Pinned on my office wall is a Zimbabwe $10,000,000,000,000 note. (That’s 10 trillion for those of you tired of counting zeroes). The currency is real, although Zimbabwe’s default currency is now the U.S. dollar. The central bank of Zimbabwe issued these $10T notes during the last days of hyperinflation in 2009, and they barely paid for a loaf of bread.

Ironically, you can now purchase one of these bills for about $27 U.S. dollars because they serve as collectors’ items or, more importantly, as a physical representation of the evils of inflation. Every economics professor in America should own one to show to their students on the first day of Econ 101.

Milton Friedman explained that inflation is always “a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

Inflation hits everyone, but especially the middle class and those on fixed incomes. Inflation is a threat to the middle class because price increases reduce purchasing power so that the things that the middle class could previously afford are now out of reach. This pushes the lower rungs of the middle class out of the picture.

The disproportionate impact of inflation on the middle class relative to the wealthy may seem counterintuitive because the inflation rate — projected now at over 6% — is the same for everyone. But while all suffer the same rate of inflation, those with lower incomes tend to have lesser means of adapting to the increases in consumer prices. The suggestion from Biden’s White House chief of staff Ron Klain that inflation is a “high-class” problem is insulting.

Click here to read the full article at the Whittier Daily News

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