Review: The Magic Money Tree and Other Economic Tales
“What I shall argue”, writes Lorenzo Forni in The Magic Money Tree, “is that the main principles of economics remain unchanged; it is only the circumstances in which they operate…
Inflation came in at 0.0% in July, prompting President Biden to tweet:
And, in September inflation was up again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported:
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.1 percent in August…Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.2 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The BLS noted:
Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the monthly seasonally adjusted all items increase. These increases were partly offset by a 4.9-percent decline in the gasoline index.
Food and energy prices are sometimes said to be more ‘volatile’ than other prices so there is a measure of ‘core’ inflation which strips these out. The BLS reports:
The index for all items less food and energy rose 6.6 percent over the past 12 months, the largest 12-month increase in that index since August 1982.
Data on Real Earnings, released by the BLS on the same day, showed the impact this inflation is having on ordinary Americans:
Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1 percent from August to September, seasonally adjusted…This result stems from an increase of 0.3 percent in average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.4 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
Real average hourly earnings decreased 3.0 percent, seasonally adjusted, from September 2021 to September 2022.
Price increases outstripping wage increases to leave Americans worse off might sound like bad economic not news. Not so, according to President Biden, who described the economy as “strong as hell”
And all of this economic pain is for a good cause, as White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre explained:
Falling incomes are a small price to pay for more ‘equity’.
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