We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Official statistics indicate little inflation, and the Federal Reserve is eagerly trying to create more. However, the official rate of inflation is heavily weighted by items we already own that have fallen in price, like houses, and discretionary purchases, like furniture, appliances, electronics, autos and things you find at the going-out-of-business sales. But, the prices are rising -- often rapidly -- of most things you actually need to buy, food, gas, medicine and health care, education. That doesn't leave much dinero in most people's budgets to go out and buy a house, furnish it, replace the car, turn up the sounds. Except for the sounds of moaning at assurances and excuses by the Obama administration and its enablers.
We're having a weird situation near where I live. Gas stations, as often as not, have no gas, or are out of standard and mid-grade. Either there are some shortages in the supply chain or, more likely, the skyrocketing price of gas (and the possibly ensuing sharp drops) make it unfeasible for the gas station owners to fill up with more than a few days supply. You see, they have to buy the gas up front, and if they buy it at $3.25 and the price drops to $3.05 the next day, they get stuck badly. It's not a high margin business for the retailers, so they are very sensitive not just to rises & falls in price, but the price shocks that seem increasingly common. Man... this is 70's redux...
We're seeing the exact opposite in my corner of the world. Wholesale price drops are not part of the equation around these parts - we've been stuck on $3.30/gal for the better part of the winter season. I know for a fact that a price/gal at the wholesale level has fluctuated down by .25¢/gal over that time. The only stations that are adjusting their prices accordingly are the company owned franchises like Cumberland Farms or Sunoco.
As far as the type of gasoline, regular is the only type of gas available in many places. The reason is pretty simple - nobody is buying higher premium grades so the gas/ethanol mix goes bad after time due to phase separation.
I think there is a method to the madness. If you don't show inflation, you don't have to give COLA raises, especially to Seniors.
In addition, we know what a hot political issue inflation can be. From the Administration's point of view, best to paper over the problem and pretend it doesn't exist. Maybe no one will notice when the next election rolls around.
I can think of a lot of things that have doubled in price in the last 10 years which would work out to annual 7% increases for those items.
There 'ya go. So called "real" inflation, taking into account all prices, food, housing, energy, core - the whole panoply of prices, the actual inflation rate (according to what I've read) is around 5% give or take.
My own fix is that there's enough recession to make a pay raise this year look unlikely (my boss does the best available) and inflation is enough to make my pay feel like I'm paid weakly, very weakly.
Or: I get a check twice a month but they pay me weakly.
Or make up your own version of the gag...
I doubt there's much inflation. But you can't tell what it is currently, in general; only long after the fact.
Inflation is exponential, and so outweighs whatever mistakes in interpretation (core, food, housing, categories omitted or measured) you make in the long run.
But in the short run, exponential doesn't do anything, and so mistakes outweigh everything.
Which is why the Fed, in normal times, worked off of leading indicators of inflation, not inflation.
These aren't normal times, so there isn't much good information for now.
Some prices go up, some prices go down, all the time. That's not inflation but rather supply and demand shifts and the resulting substitution.
Hidden under it is a smaller but consistent rise or fall that's due to too many dollars bidding for too few goods. You have to wait for the consistent to dominate the fluctuations, which takes a lot of time.
Not much bidding is going on because the dollars created are not doing any bidding, but rather sitting as credits at the Fed.
The other item that is going up is taxes, at least where I live. Not federal income taxes, which most people focus on. State and local taxes have been rising. Sales, property, excise taxes all going up. And the so-called "fees" such as vehicle registration are going up.