The inflation genie is well and truly out of the bottle. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:
Inflation for Urban Wage Earners & Clerical Workers (CPI-W) = 7.6%. Fed is still pouring fuel on the raging fire. Most reckless Fed ever.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s reaction to today’s WOOSH inflation blowout, as captured by cartoonist Marco Ricolli for WOLF STREET.
The broadest Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) spiked by 0.8% in November from October, and by 6.8% from a year ago, the highest since June 1982, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.
But it gets better. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), the index upon which the Social Security COLAs are based, spiked by 7.6% in November year-over-year — exceeding even Mexico’s soaring inflation rate — and the worst since January 1982.
Count on it, when prices are rising painfully fast, the politicians and bureaucrats will change the composition of the price indexes. Suddenly prices aren’t rising so fast. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Earlier this year, when inflation was still “transitory” two Fed chairs, Powell and Bernanke, made comments which we joked only make sense if the definition of inflation is changed:
Sadly, our feeble attempts at humor were not unjustified, and as any economic history buff knows the US dramatically changed how it calculates consumer inflation back in the 1980s, an event extensively covered by AllianceBernstein former chief economist Joseph Carson on this website in the past (see “Consumer Price Inflation: Facts vs. Fiction“) with the most important difference being that while the CPI of the 1970s included house price inflation, the current measure does not. Instead, home price pressures have been swept in the purposefully nebulous Owner-Equivalent Rent which can be whatever politicians wants it to be (there have been other definitional changes, see here, here, here and here for more). Bottom line, however, is that if today’s CPI did include house prices in its measurement, the currently reported inflation numbers for house price inflation would push CPI (and core CPI) to double-digit gains.
Of course, it is politically inconvenient to report true inflation is – just see what happens in any banana republic where society is fed up with runaway inflation. It’s also why politicians on both sides of the aisle are always eager to tweak the definition of inflation ever so slightly (or not so slightly) so it appears to be less than it truly is. After all, for them masking reality is a matter of political survival.
Inflation is in the ascendancy, thanks to nonstop debt monetization since the end of 2019. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
After March’s blowout 0.6% MoM surge in headline CPI, analysts expected a modest slowdown MoM, but surge YoY due to the base-effect comps from April 2020’s collapse. However, it appears analyst massively underestimated as headline CPI surged 0.8% MoM (4 times the +0.2% expected) and exploded 4.2% YoY. That is the biggest YoY jump since Sept 2008 (and biggest MoM jump since June 2008)
Core CPI was expected to rise by the most this millennia, but it was hotter than that. The index for all items less food and energy rose 3.0% over the past 12 months; this was its largest 12-month increase since January 1996… and the MoM jump of 0.92% is the biggest since 1981