President Joe Biden once bizarrely remarked on the 2020 campaign trail, “Milton Friedman isn’t running the show anymore.” It shows.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported that the CPI rose at its fastest rate since 1990: 0.9 percent for the month of October and 6.2 percent year over year—faster than Wall Street consensus estimates of 0.6 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.
Perhaps most telling, the acceleration in prices still clocks in at 0.6 percent monthly when the volatile food and energy categories are excluded, suggesting inflation is here to stay. Astute observers might notice that the 0.9 percent monthly change in CPI represents faster inflation than earlier this year, and that if current trends continued for one year, next October’s annual price increase would be 10.8 percent. These figures, quite frankly, obliterate any notion that our inflation is “transitory” or trivial. In response, the president declared inflation his “top priority.” Judging by the administration’s economic agenda, this only spells more trouble.
In a fresh sign of his growing concerns about inflation, Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the Federal Reserve can’t be sure that price increases will slow in the second half of next year as many economists expect.
October and November have seen US macro-economic data surprise to the upside (admittedly from a depressingly low level overshoot), and flash PMI signaled an uptick in Manufacturing earlier in the month, but that was the end of the good news.