Inflation was supposed to be one of the issues that would create a “Red Wave” or “Tsunami” last month. Well, that didn’t happen but inflation is still taking a huge bite out of people’s asses just the same. Despite this morning’s news that it turns out that while bad, it’s not as bad as economists had predicted for so much of the year. The problem is, that while prices have mitigated on some big ticket stuff and softening the overall inflation rate everyday items people have to spend money on are still high.
In the picture is national treasure Katie Porter illustrating something that the so-called “liberal media” refused to address (beyond a brief mention once in a blue moon) which is that fully half of the then eight percent inflation rate (by then I mean at the time of that hearing) was going straight into corporate profits. In other words, it wasn’t a matter of business passing along the costs of doing business to consumers, which in case you’re wondering was roughly four percent higher than the year before. Four percent isn’t good of course. But it doesn’t create anywhere near the financial pinch, much less all the hoopla talking head in journalism could make out of the eight percent (plus) rate – and the “how bad will it get?” speculation. Double digits were routinely mentioned as real possibilities if not inevitable. Maybe even worse! Oh to be a “journalist” in such times, able to run your suck with wild-ass speculation instead of doing actual journalism. You know, research and reporting facts. Like those Representative Porter helpfully offered up to them. And that the same crap is still happening.
Well, the plain fact is that people have to eat and therefore go to the grocery store. They have to put gas in their cars to get to the store or to work. They have to buy other regular, everyday stuff like clothes, and school supplies for kids and so on. And those prices are still elevated. I saw a talking head on MSNBC this morning say he’d spent $3.89 on a carton of a dozen eggs earlier. Journalists, or shall I say “journalists” aren’t going to let this go. Not with their own corporate masters telling them to beat this dead horse into dust! What they won’t, or aren’t allowed to do is focus on corporate profits and business price gouging for that everyday stuff I mentioned. Oh, they can bring it up. A little. But not too much!
Here’s the thing though. Many decades ago big oil perfected the art of immediately jacking up prices at the slightest shock in world oil prices, then when the price of a barrel of crude returned to normal taking their sweet ass time easing off and letting the price return to normal. Given how much money and effort they put into lobbying they of course have always gotten away with it. As a result for decades their profits have set new records damned near every year.
Covid was a shock to the system not just here in the U.S. but world wide. Supply and distribution of all manner of goods was disrupted. “Just in time” delivery of damned near everything whether at Wal-Mart, Target or higher end stores was exposed for the problem it is. Shipping, from crews for ships to maintenance of them and then unloading them at ports and getting goods on to trucks and trains was a mess. Workers that would pick crops, process food whether plant or animals also became a problem due to mismanagement of the pandemic. Remember, this happened during the prior administration which didn’t possess the competence, much less the will to sort through the mess.
Well, we got ourselves a new President who knew WTF he was doing and just as importantly knew the value of putting people who actually knew shit, who had actual relevant experience and qualifications in charge of sorting things out. Vaccine distribution took care of the problem of workers and so stuff like food production and folks to transport it and other goods could go back to work and move things around the country. When oil and therefore gas prices became a problem he took good steps to keep things from spiraling out of control, even with Putin/Russia messing with things like energy and grain distribution. Things could be better but it would be much, much worse with many other non-Trump Presidents.
However during the pandemic when things were slowed down many a person from corporate offices and boardrooms down to medium sized companies (like a regional supermarket chain in my part of the country) to even small business looked at how big oil spent worked the system for decades, jacking up prices (“Sorry folks – it’s basic economics. Supply and Demand”) out of the gate then ever so slowly reducing them later on and said “Hey! I/We can do that too!”
Hence the inflation rate being twice what it otherwise would have been!
What’s clear now is that for stuff like I mentioned earlier, stuff people have to buy every day or every week (ok, somethings like clothes and household items maybe monthly) they are going to squeeze, hell GOUGE every effing dollar they can out of consumers for as long as they can get away with it. They will artificially create “shortages” as a “supply & demand” justification to keep prices jacked up. Remember, just because an item on a grocery store shelf isn’t present, that that space is empty doesn’t mean there’s an actual shortage! Remember toilet paper in the first part of the pandemic? It was awfully tough to find. At least the kind we want in our homes. But there was plenty of TP available – the commercial stuff that wasn’t getting used in public spaces/office buildings because of the lockdown. It wouldn’t have been people’s first choice but had stores put it on the shelves people would have bought it. But the makers just cut production and let stocks sit in warehouses! And slowly, ever so slowly started feeding home-grade stuff back into stores. At higher prices of course!
Don’t think for a second that lesson wasn’t taken to heart by American business from the top on down to many a mom & pop operation. Not all to be sure but more than enough to cause regular folks real economic pain. Add in rent price gouging and the likely turning of many former affordable (a relative term even before all this) places into corporate/bank owned properties that only folks in the upper third of income brackets can even think about buying (or even renting) and yes, there are going to be an awful lot of pissed off people out there. Pissed off for a very long time.
A President can only do a small amount without Congressional help and you can be sure the GOP will fuck over working folks every chance they can and then put the blame on Biden. (With a dose of “Hunter deleted the solution to the problem on his laptop – to have more room for his dick pics”)
Economists and talking heads really piss me off. Any of them who once live like most of us do, day to day and paycheck to paycheck have long since forgotten. They can sit there with their fat-ass salaries and pontificate and so can so many politicians. But there’s real pain out there being felt by the bulk of Americans every day. Don’t think for a second that even with a GOP in disarray that things will be easy for us come 2024.