Inflation Frustration: Where Are We Now?

More than five months later, the world is still in the throes of the inflation bandit—and is showing no signs of stopping.

In October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the consumer price index and “found that inflation rose by 6.2% in its highest spike in 30 years.” Compared to this time last year, “energy prices rose 30.0 percent over the past 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since the period ending September 2005”; “the food index increased 5.3 percent” and “all of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the period,” along with the “prices for wholesale goods, [which] … saw their highest increase in a decade after registering a 0.6% increase last month”; “gasoline prices rose 49.6 percent over the last year, and is now at its highest level since September 2014.”


The Holiday Rush

India’s popular newspaper with a business bent, The Economic Times, recently posted an opinion column originally written for The New York Times by economist Paul Krugman. In it, Krugman stated, “Prices of food and energy, which are set on world markets, have risen sharply everywhere. … We’ve seen broadly similar inflation surges in many countries.”

In other words, we’re looking at global—not national—inflation. Minnesota’s Star Tribune, reporting on the situation in the United Kingdom, noted that the country’s “Office for National Statistics said inflation accelerated to 4.2% in the 12 months through October, from 3.1% the previous month. The bigger-than-expected increase pushed inflation to its highest level since November 2011.” This also “means most people will be enduring a drop in living standards in the run-up to Christmas as household incomes get stretched.”

But Americans have another holiday to worry about before December.

One financial analyst put it without preamble: “Without a doubt, … the tab for this Thanksgiving dinner will be the highest consumers have seen.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that “whole frozen turkey prices are up about 20% year on year to an all-time high” and “retail prices for pie-staples like milk and sugar are at multi-year highs.”

But it’s not just about poultry and pies: “Runaway inflation, mangled supply chains and heightened demand are converging” to create this compounded spiral. There is an extreme upsurge in farming materials, from “fertilizer” to “animal feed.” There are “skyrocketing fuel prices and a driver shortage.” There is the all-too-familiar barren shelf that greets customers these days, exacerbated by a “stockpiling” population fearful of being deprived of comforts and traditions. Each of these little links in the chain means a fiscally sky-high end of the year.

Interestingly enough, in Goldman Sach’s prospective analysis for 2022, the financial behemoth admitted to being caught unawares by “the two most important inflation sources, namely the excess demand for durable goods and the labor supply squeeze.” Furthermore, it predicted “both of these inflation drivers to abate only gradually and partially.”

An executive at agricultural lender AgAmerica Lending agreed: “This is going to drag through until Christmas, and possibly until the spring holidays like Easter. The supply chain is not going to get fixed anytime soon.”


High Costs

 How is the American public dealing with the increased costs? Reports conflict. British-run Daily Mail referenced a U.S. Commerce Department report on “the resilience of American consumers,” citing, for example, October sales increases in “e-commerce platforms” at “four percent,” among others. It also quoted an expert at Pantheon Macroeconomics: “We expect a blockbuster holiday season as people make up for lost time and begin to run down some of the $2.5 trillion in accumulated excess savings since the pandemic began.” 

Goldman Sachs was similarly optimistic, stating that pandemic “medical improvements” would “likely … support further recovery in sectors such as travel, entertainment, and office-adjacent consumption.” It additionally surmised, “But the more important factor is probably a reduction in fear among the vast majority of the population that is either already vaccinated or has no desire to get vaccinated under any circumstances, and consequently higher economic activity even when there is an outbreak.”

On the other hand, CBS News partnered with YouGov to produce a survey on the average American, with a “sample of 2,058 U.S. adult residents interviewed between November 15-19, 2021.” It found “a majority who call inflation ‘difficult’ or even a ‘hardship’ … rather than just an inconvenience, and [also that] those Americans report planning some kind of cutback, like delaying a big purchase, reducing gift purchases, or taking fewer trips. Seven in 10 say they’ll scale back holiday celebrations.”

Do you feel like a rag that’s being squeezed tighter and tighter? Do you feel like you’re on a train careening headlong down an unfinished track? Does every new day bring more bad news, more anxiety, and no hope? To one who believes in God’s Word, you can get off that train—freely. You can look at these signs of the times not as an inescapable fate but as the darkness before the coming of a bright and eternal dawn.

Jesus warned us that economic issues would be one of the factors ushering in the final struggle between God’s remnant and the devil’s agencies: “that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). You can learn more from our free lesson “The Mark of Cain.” 

And while that day has not yet come, it soon will. As the apostle Paul urged, “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time to place yourself in the hands of the One who paid “The High Cost of the Cross” for you. 

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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