One of my favorite places...

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Problem with Inflation

 I am not an economist.  My understanding of economics is pretty unsophisticated, but I do not agree with President Biden that our economy is in a good place.  He and his advisors throw statistics at us in complicated sentences, and convoluted paragraphs, full of references to obscure “economic indicators,”  but I still pay more, a lot more, for everything that I purchase to include food and all other essentials and I do not make a commensurate amount of additional money to pay for those essentials.  In addition to that, I watch my savings being eroded by the inflation that I have been told for several years is being brought under control.  I also hear that we are going to eliminate student debt and give illegal migrants money to support themselves, in both cases with funds that I am paying in taxes, while we permit our military to be underfunded in a world that is palpably getting more dangerous.  Just recently my president told me that American business is to blame for the fact that there are fewer potato chips in the bag than there used to be, but I believe that inflation has made the potato chip more expensive and the companies are reducing the amount of chips instead of raising the price of the bag.  When I lived in Turkey a loaf of bread got visibly smaller for exactly the same reason.  I suspect that my president thinks that I am even stupider than I am, and he can just tell me things and I will accept them because he is more important than am I.

I try not to get mad at my president because I know that he has a tough job, but I confess that I am grumpy when I see him living in multiple, really big houses, flying around in fancy airplanes, vacationing very regularly in exotic places, and hobnobbing with the social elite on my dollar.  It is my understanding that he has never had a job outside of government and I did not know that government paid that well.  I could probably cut him some slack if he didn’t try to tell me that I didn’t understand how well off I was because he had put America back to work following the pandemic.  I certainly agree that a lot of Americans decided to go back to work, but I honestly do not see how he played much of a role in that decision on their part - other than to eliminate what I consider to have been a stupid lockdown of the economy during the recent Covid scare.  He blames a lot of the reason for inflation on the Russian decision to invade Ukraine and I agree with him there, but I go on to blame him for letting the invasion take place in the first place, and for adopting sanctions as a principal element in his pretend strategy to deal with the travesty.  Those sanctions are a principal reason for much, if not most, of the inflation that is afflicting the entire world and it is contributing to weakening the role of the dollar in international commerce, which further complicates our world.

The irony of the matter is that we need a little inflation to keep the economy functioning properly and I believe that the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% is just about right.  We also need a populace that is willing to participate positively in the workplace and a government that intelligently protects the economy from unfair competition from outsiders.  Both of these requirements are under considerable stress at the moment.  American society has gotten lazy, really lazy, and the American government has reverted to too much protectionism.  To put it simply, America is not as competitive or effective as it used to be.  That generates a lot of very important problems for us and those problems are far more serious than the price of potato chips and far more important than any of the ridiculous wars that we are mindlessly involved in at the moment.  I know people who are still living the American dream, but too few of them are American by birth.  Most of them are new immigrants.  There are exceptions, but they are too few to mold society in their image.  America is changing and the change is not beneficial.

The war that needs to be fought is here inside American minds, but we are too pusillanimous to engage.  We seek escape from nasty in fantasy and our cowardliness is in the process of biting us in the ass.  There is work to be done all over America and there are plenty of us to do it, but we have our noses in our phones and can not be bothered with real challenges, particularly if it means putting ourselves in harms way or dealing with genuinely difficult issues.  We certainly do not want to understand that Biden and Trump are superb representatives of the two faces of today’s America.

No comments: