Stunning News on Inflation Shatters the Illusion of a Transitory Problem
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The increase recorded in consumer prices — soaring 0.9% just for the month of October alone and 6.2% for the past 12 months — is stunning news. It is the fastest pace in over 30 years.
And I have to say that last month’s results really, really undercut the idea that inflation is temporary or transitory or whatever excuse the Federal Reserve is making. By the way, if you look under the hood of the report, energy was up nearly 5% for the month and 30% for the last year.
Art Laffer makes an important point, that the CPI seems to be following the PPI, which is the Producer Price Index, or what, in the old days, we called the wholesale price index. PPI is now up 8.6% in the past year. Art’s point is that when the two indexes are moving up in tandem, that strongly suggests a deep rooted inflation problem.
Sometimes, producer prices jump, but they’re not passed on to consumers. Now, it seems, business price hikes are being taken by consumers. You know what that suggests? There is so much excess money creation from our central bank that, at least in the meantime, these price hikes are sticking.
I know there are shortages and supply chain problems. Thanksgiving turkey is going to be way too expensive this year, but the reality is that prices are rising and people are still buying. Now, look. There are no geniuses in crystal ball forecasting, but numbers like today really strongly suggest we have too much money chasing too few goods.
Inflation is becoming embedded in our economy. That suggests it might well be higher and longer than a whole lot of people — including myself — might have thought five or six months ago. As I often say, put aside the politics. Just look at the numbers. And they are not good. This story goes beyond pandemic-related supply chain problems.
Now, the White House with it’s usually penetrating analysis, blames price gouging from oil companies and presumably gas stations. This is exceedingly nonsensical. If this were remotely true, you’d have to have price gouging in: energy, food, shelter, transportation, medical care, sporting events, postage stamps, recreation, used cars, new cars, car and truck rentals, and hotels.
Now, that’s one hell of a conspiratorial price gouging campaign. You know, Mr. President, even paranoids have real enemies. A much better response came from Senator Joe Manchin. He suggests that Congress needs to put the monstrosity of Mr. Biden’s social spending plan on hold until inflation slows.
“By all accounts the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not transitory and is getting worse,” Mr. Manchin tweeted today. “From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real.”
In other words, stop the spending. Stop the money printing presses. Save America. Kill the Bill. Mr. Manchin wants to pause the bill. I’m fine with that. Because as Americans take a sober look at this inflation story, opposition to all this federal spending stimulus will grow even larger than it is already now.
Last point. A big chunk of this inflation story is energy. World oil prices up to $83 from the $53 they were at when Mr. Biden was inaugurated. Gasoline up 60% to $3.42 from $2.15. You know what, Mr. President? There is a solution to this particular problem. It’s called drill, drill, drill. Produce, produce, produce.
It’s called American energy independence. Quit whining to the Saudis and Russians and stop choking off supply by ending pipelines, leasing on federal lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and so forth. You’re 2 million barrels a day short from the pre-pandemic Trump peak.
They’re not producing, because they know you’re going to regulate and tax them to death. How about telling your so-called climate czar, John Kerry, to stop making ridiculous assertions that there will be no coal in 2030, when everyone knows we have at least 100 years of coal reserves. Private industry is developing clean coal technologies.
Or, stop Kerry from the ridiculous assertion that we’ll be carbon free by 2035. No serious climate or energy analyst believes anything remotely like that. What’s more, if we ever did that, with some kind of Soviet style command, the entire economy would implode. So, how about this: produce more, not less energy. Of all kinds. Slash taxes and regulations instead of raising them.
And, for crying out loud, stop federal spending and the central bank’s money printing. That’s what Ronald Reagan did 40 years ago, and within a year inflation evaporated and American economic engines moved into high gear. You know what I’m going to say. Save America. Kill the Bill.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox News.