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It's no surprise to anybody who regularly buys groceries or puts gas in a car that prices are going up. Inflation is running at the hottest rate in 40 years, nibbling away at savings, making a mockery of budgets, and fueling fears about people's ability to make ends meet. What's infuriating is that those rising prices are largely the result of foolish policy choices and that there's actually a constituency for doubling down on political interference in the economy to further crimp our liberty and prosperity.
"The public views inflation as the top problem facing the United States – and no other concern comes close," Pew Research reported last week. "Seven-in-ten Americans view inflation as a very big problem for the country, followed by the affordability of health care (55%) and violent crime (54%)."
The understandable focus on inflation comes after yet another month of rising prices. While the Consumer Price Index shows the annual inflation rate dipped a hair from 8.5 percent in March to 8.3 percent in April, that's still "the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1981," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That dip can largely be attributed to a drop in energy prices which still left the category 30 percent more expensive than a year earlier. Gasoline was a whopping 43 percent pricier than in April 2021. Food, an unavoidable purchase for pretty much all of us, was 9.4 percent more expensive.
Analysts hope that inflation has peaked and is headed for an annual rate of 4 percent, which is still above the Federal Reserve's target of 2 percent. But the Producer Price Index, considered a leading indicator for prices paid by consumers, stands at 11 percent, suggesting that we're in for a bit more pain before enjoying even modest relief. Maddeningly, these soaring prices are at least partly the result of government officials attempting to "help" us through the disruptions of the pandemic and mandated lockdowns.
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