The Inflation Crisis Is Worse Than Admitted – Will Interest Rates Go to Record Highs?
BY TYLER DURDEN
Inflation is not a new problem in the US; there has been a steady expansion of price inflation and a devaluation of the dollar ever since the Federal Reserve was officially made operational in 1916. This inflation is easily observed by comparing the prices of commodities and necessities from a few decades ago to today.
The median cost of a home in 1960 was around $11,900, which is the equivalent of $98,000 today.
In the year 2000, the median home price rose to $170,000.
Today, the average sale price for a home is over $400,000 dollars.
Inflation apologists will argue that wages are keeping up with prices; this is simply not true and has not been true for decades.
In today's terms, a certain measure of home price increases is due to artificial demand created by massive conglomerates like Blackstone buying up distressed properties. We can also place some blame on the huge migration of Americans out of blue states like New York and California during the COVID pandemic lockdowns.
However, prices were rising exponentially in many markets, such as real estate, well before COVID.
Americans have been dealing with higher prices and stagnant wages for some time now.
This is often hidden or obscured by creative government accounting and the way inflation is communicated to the public through consumer price index, CPI
This is especially true, after the inflationary crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s under the Carter Administration and Fed Chairman Paul Volcker.
The CPI Understates Prices On Purpose
It's important to understand that the CPI today is NOT an accurate reflection of true inflation overall, and this is because the methods used by the Fed and other institutions to calculate inflation changed after the 1970s event. Not surprisingly, the CPI was adjusted to show a diminished inflation threat. If you can't hide the price increases, you can at least lie about the gravity of those increases.
Today, the official CPI from the Fed came in much hotter, than expected, at 8.6%. For market investors hoping for a lower CPI and more Fed stimulus, the dream is dead, or it should be treated as such. There is very little chance that the central bankers will reverse course in the midst of the largest inflationary crisis since the 1970s. What they aren't telling you, is that REAL inflation is much worse than the CPI.
Screwing Retired People
By the 1990s the Fed and the government had effectively upended the traditional calculation methods for inflation and, ever since, the CPI has been subdued.
The main purpose was to "save" the Social Security System, SS System
Retirees were screwed two ways to "save" the SS System, courtesy of Greenspan and Senator Dole, etc.
1) 80% of Social Security benefits, tax-free since 1935, became taxed as ordinary federal income; many states shamelessly tax Social Security benefits as well
2) The CPI was manipulated on a lesser upward trend to limit future increases in Social Security benefits.
BTW, the federal minimum wage is not tied to the CPI. It gets increased by Congress, when the pressure to do so starts to become uncomfortable regarding re-election prospects
If we look at numbers from Shadowstats, which uses the no-manipulation-calculation methods used in the 1980s, we can see the 8.6% CPI is actually closer to 17%, which is what people see when shopping!!!
MAKE SURE TO OPEN THE SHADOWSTATS URL FOR AN EYEOPENER
This makes much more sense given the dramatic increases in food and energy prices, as well as home and rent costs just in the past two years. The CPI during the 1970's crisis peaked at around 14.5%, which is prior to the era of obfuscating “adjustments”.
It's also important to note, the crisis of the 1970s was the product of a decades-long decline in the US economy, as exemplified by the infamous Rust Belt.
The real trigger event happened in 1971 when Richard Nixon fully removed the US dollar from the gold standard. It was not long after, in 1973, the CPI rose to around 8%. By 1980, CPI inflation was officially at 14%.
Volcker and the Fed responded by dramatically increasing interest rates to a record high of 15.8% by 1981.
Recession hit hard and unemployment grew to 10%. High inflation followed by high interest rates also made manufacturing in the US difficult and likely helped to precipitate the exodus of factories from America to Asia, and the takeover by foreign companies of US Companies, with help of Wall Street, aka “creative destruction”
The difference between the 1970's crisis and today's crisis is we are facing far worse conditions.
Our very own crisis started around 2008, after the credit bubble collapse, which facilitated an endless stream of bailouts and stimulus packages, paid for with printing press money.
The Federal Reserve has printed tens of trillions of dollars OUT OF THIN AIR (aka Quantitative Easing) over the past 14 years. Dick Cheney, White House guru, claimed “DEFICITS DON’T MATTER”
The official US national debt has tripled to about $30-plus TRILLION. In 2020 alone, the Fed created over $5.9 trillion from thin air and injected/helicoptered it directly into the economy through COVID relief checks and PPP loans.
NOTE: 20% Of Pandemic Unemployment Payments Were Improper: GAO
Unemployment is low, for now, but this is a fleeting condition created by COVID stimulus. Joblessness will likely skyrocket over the next year after COVID checks are spent and the average consumer has maxed out their credit cards.
If the Fed takes the same actions as it did in the 1970s, then it is likely interest rates will be aggressively hiked within the next couple of years to levels even beyond those seen in 1981.
The current planned pace of rate increases by the Fed will do nothing to stall rising inflation, and they know this for a fact, though they will not admit it to the public until it's too late.
Inflation will continue to climb well beyond current CPI percentages. They will have to hike to the point of extreme economic pain, and this may still not stop rising prices: a stagflation/recession with high interest rates
Obviously, interest rates anywhere beyond 2% - 3% will lead to a stock market crash, because stocks are highly dependent on corporate buybacks fueled by cheap loans. The central bank has yet to even begin serious rate hikes, and already, we are seeing stocks decline in response to the mere prospect the “easy-money-train” is gone.
Recession is a commonly used word in the media for what we are facing, but this is a softball term that misrepresents reality. It's more accurate to say that the party is over.
The deflationary crisis we should have dealt with in 2008 will return with a vengeance, but this time we have the added inflationary pressures caused by years of gratuitous money printing.
In other words, it's a stag-flation disaster that needs to be taken far more seriously in the mainstream. than currently is the case.