Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my friends.
The day before last, I went grocery shopping. I tend to buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, so my bill was substantially higher than the time before. At that point, I asked fellow SLOB, good friend, and economics pundit WC Varones why I just spent so much more — despite the fact I had bought the same items, that there as “no inflation”, and there were no new taxes (at least of which I was aware). His response was illuminating:
The full CPI (CONSUMER PRICE INDEX, often called “headline CPI”) does include food — but food is a very small part of it and is overshadowed by price declines in things such as consumer electronics and housing.
Worse, the Fed focuses on “core CPI” which specifically excludes food and energy when setting policy, allegedly because food and energy are very volatile and bounce around, but the last several years they have been trending consistently higher than core CPI.
Full CPI detail by category is here: http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid1101.pdf
See also: Let them eat iPads.
Moments later, I get confirmation via HOT AIR: If grocery bills seem higher, you’re not imagining things. Thanks mostly to a sharp increase in fuel prices, the cost of food rose faster in February than in any month since November 1974 — not coincidentally, during a previous energy crisis.
Today, WC has even more bad news: CPI: Some Like It Hot
Yuck. The areas highlighted are selected for their impact on the lower and middle income Americans, and they’re ugly. These annualized rates are over ten percent for food and seriously ugly when one looks at energy, which we all need to buy. In addition the so-called “zero” inflation for Americans is coming with a roughly 5% escalation in actual medical costs, and since many of those costs are “absorbed” and shifted due to our so-called “insurance” system the true rate of price change is likely even higher.
A bit later on yesterday, Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition President Dawn Wildman was concerned about a seemingly bogus poll indicating Californians are game to agree to tax hikes in the next special election. W.C. comes to the rescue, again:
Actual poll data here:
A couple points:
1) It’s registered voters, not likely voters. Big difference. Conservatives show up to vote more.
2) There was a similar poll before which showed Prop 1A winning by 57% – 21% (!!!) — obviously that didn’t happen.
Today, it appears the crisis in Japan is continuing and a “not normal, not dangerous” cloud of enhanced radioactivity is on its way over to California. At this point, I can only direct you to Beers with Demos’ friend Max, and have you select your St. Patrick’s day beverage. Sometimes, a good stiff drink is exactly was is needed. The local bars could make some serious money today if they mixed their brew with potassium iodide.
Apparently, US Officials are unhappy about how the Japanese are handling the situation. Frankly, I find it laughable and wonder if they haven’t already started imbibing. Between Libya, the economy, and the riotous behavior of the public employee union leaders… President Obama has managed the impossible-seeming feat of making a President of France appear as decisive and effective. (Via Instapundit).
Good times, my friends, good times!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
(PS. A shout-out to Anna Puna, who has this must-read piece: From Stars&Stripes, some sanity being injected into the debate – http://www.stripes.com/blogs/the-rumor-doctor/the-rumor-doctor-1.104348/is-radiation-from-japan-heading-to-the-u-s-1.137815)