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Even the Fed’s Lowball Inflation Measure Goes WOOSH: Fodder for 50-Basis-Point Rate Hike in March

Even the Fed’s Lowball Inflation Measure Goes WOOSH: Fodder for 50-Basis-Point Rate Hike in March

The most reckless Fed ever is still just watching – and fueling – the consequences of 23 months of policy errors as the Inflation Monster gets bigger and bigger.

The Fed’s official yardstick for inflation, the “core PCE” price index, which excludes food and energy and is the lowest lowball inflation measure the US government produces and which understates actual inflation more than any other inflation measure, spiked by another 0.5% in January from December, and by 5.2% year-over-year, the worst inflation spike since April 1983, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis today.

The Fed’s official and inexplicable inflation target is 2%, as measured by this lowest lowball inflation measure. And now even this lowball measure is 2.6 times the Fed’s target:

But back in 1982 and 1983, inflation was on the way down; now inflation is spiking to high heaven. Back in 1982 and 1983, the Fed’s policy rates were over 10%; now they’re near 0%.

Several Fed governors have put a 50-basis-point rate hike on the table for the March meeting. Yesterday it was Federal Reserve Board Governor Christopher Waller who said that “a strong case can be made for a 50-basis-point hike in March” if we get hot readings for today’s core PCE index, and the jobs report and CPI in early March. The first of the three conditions has now been met with panache.

“In this state of the world, front-loading a 50-point hike would help convey the Committee’s determination to address high inflation, about which there should be no question,” he said in his speech.

The overall PCE price index, which includes food and energy, spiked by 0.6% in January from December, and by 6.1% year-over-year, the worst reading since February 1982.

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