As money growth slows, so does inflation
Recognizing important economic relationships allowed us to see inflation coming back in 2021. Today, they strongly suggest a sharp slowing of inflation ahead.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this week that inflation rose by 8.5 percent in the year to March. This is the fastest annual rate of increase since December 1981. You’d have to be nearly 50 to remember inflation like this.
In December, we’d just clocked up the fastest annual rate of inflation since June 1982. In June 1982, inflation was falling from its peak of 14.6 percent in April 1980, as Figure 1 shows. In numerical terms, we are currently moving back, up that curve. There is the distinct possibility that we may soon revisit the double-digit rates of Fall 1981.
In December, I looked back for those under 50 to life in America the last time inflation was this high. Now that we’ve gone back another year, let’s take another look.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, the Minnesota Kicks folded. Founded in 1976, our state’s NASL side had drawn over 23,000 fans in each season from 1976 to 1979, but by 1981, the novelty was wearing off and the team lost $2.5 million during the season. Owing to a scheduling conflict with the Twins — with whom they shared the Metrodome — the Kicks played their last match at the University of Minnesota’s Memorial Stadium on Sept. 6, losing 3-0 to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, Bud Grant’s Vikings were playing their final season at the Metropolitan Stadium. They were on their way to 7–9 record, which would see them miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, Dino Ciccarelli was in his second season with the Minnesota North Stars. He would score 55 goals, a franchise record, and help the team to their first division title. Sadly, they would lose to the Chicago Blackhwaks in the first round of the playoffs.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was notching its fourth consecutive year as the best-selling car in the United States.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, the best-selling toys were Smurfs, from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon that was taking the country’s kids by storm.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, Americans were reading An Indecent Obsession by Colleen McCullough. (no, me neither).
The last time the inflation rate was this high, Olivia Newton-John was top of the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Physical.’
The last time the inflation rate was this high, Stevie Nicks released her debut album Bella Donna, which contained the classic ‘Edge of Seventeen,’ so the music wasn’t all bad.
The last time the inflation rate was this high, Cagney and Lacey debuted on CBS and NBC launched The Fall Guy. It was a classic year for theme tunes.
And the last time the inflation rate was this high, Neighbors reunited Blues Brothers Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi — in his final film role — and claimed top spot at the box office from Rollover, starring Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson, a political thriller about a global currency collapse.
Despite its auspicious debut, Rollover went on to lose its studio $6 million. Maybe it is one to watch this weekend.
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