December Consumer Price Index data came out on Wednesday (Jan. 12). Month-on-month, it was again even hotter than expected. Peter called it an inflationary freight train that the Fed’s “field of dreams” monetary policy will not stop.
“Transitory” inflation has now been running hot for a full year.
The year-on-year CPI was 7%. It was the biggest annual CPI increase since 1982.
Month-on-month, the CPI spiked another 0.5%. This was hotter than the consensus 0.4% projection.
Core CPI (stripping out food and energy — as if you don’t have to eat or put gas in your car) was up 5.5%.
Goods prices were up a staggering 10.7% That was the biggest 1-year increase since 1975.
Keep in mind, this is using the cooked government CPI formula that understates inflation. If the government was still using the formula that it used in 1982, inflation would be higher in 2021 than it was then. In fact, we’d have the highest level of inflation in history. According to ShadowStats, it would be just over 15%.
Based on the methodology the government uses to calculate housing prices (owners’ equivalent rent), housing prices were up 3.8% in 2021. Meanwhile, the actual home prices rose about 16.5%. If you take owners’ equivalent rent out and put home prices in the calculation, 2021 CPI suddenly becomes 10%.
Some people have recently claimed we shouldn’t worry about inflation. They say that wages go up along with prices, so it’s basically a wash. But wages are not going up as fast as prices. Real wages (nominal wage increases minus CPI) were down 2.4% in 2021. That means even with your raise, you have lost purchasing power. And you’ve lost even more than the official numbers reveal. If you use an honest inflation measure, real wages were down somewhere in the neighborhood of 10.4%.
As Peter Schiff said, “Consumers are going to have to live in the real world, not in the government’s fantasy world.”
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