(USA Today) - U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I hate to say I told you so, but nearly EVERYTHING I've predicted on this blog concerning the economy is beginning to come true. Actual unemployment in the USA is near 20%, though the government's cooked books show it at 9.5%, the national debt is skyrocketing, and now inflation is beginning to set it domestically, after it's already caused food riots internationally. Our chickens are coming home to roost -- as the saying goes. Our nation has sown to the wind, and now we must reap the tornado.
The world's largest retailer is working with suppliers to minimize the effect of cost increases and believes its low-cost business model will position it better than its competitors.
Still, inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate."
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(CNBC) - There's more than just a whiff of inflation in the air, especially if you're standing outside a Hershey chocolate factory or shopping in a Walmart.
Hershey Wednesday announced a nearly 10 percent price increase across its line of candy products to cover rising raw material costs, fuel and transportation.
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(Wall Street Journal) - The president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank said Thursday the Fed may need to increase short-term interest rates by year's end if underlying inflation rises as he anticipates.
In a interview, Narayana Kocherlakota said he expected "a big upward movement" in core inflation—inflation excluding volatile food and energy prices—from about 0.8% late last year to about 1.3% by year-end.
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I seriously doubt the Federal Reserve will be able to get a handle on this inflation problem. I suspect the Fed will increase interest rates much too slowly, and indeed may not be able to raise them fast enough at all, when you consider how many trillions it's already pumped out in funny-money to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Every single time in history a "slow and controlled devaluation" of a currency has been attempted, it ends up spiraling out of control in the end. There is no reason to believe the same won't happen this time, except now it's the U.S. dollar we're talking about!
America's economy suffered a mortal wound in September of 2008, but at that time we still had a chance. We could have made the deep cuts necessary, allowed the economy to fall into a short depression (maybe 3 to 5 years) and then let things recover naturally on a solid foundation with a federal budget surplus and shrinking national debt. That didn't happen though. Instead we had a weak president (George W. Bush) who would not allow the market to correct naturally, and pushed forward an economic bailout package that took us out of the frying pan and threw us directly into the fire, effectively postponing the inevitable depression and setting us up for a deeper correction later. Then we had a presidential election in November of 2008, and though neither front-running candidate was particularly desirable, the American people chose the worst one possible (Barack H. Obama). With that national choice, and the Democrat-controlled congress, the nation went full speed in the wrong direction, increasing the federal deficit and national debt by leaps and bounds, printing trillions of US dollars in funny-money based on nothing to back it, increasing taxes, and embarking on an unrealistically ambitious nationalized healthcare plan that will cost trillions of dollars. It was quite literally the worst thing to do, at the worst possible time, setting us up for the worst possible consequences. Those consequences are about to be realized in the months (not years) ahead. The year 2011 will mark the beginning of the end for the US economy and the US dollar. We are looking at a minimum inflation level of 10% -- that's a minimum! It could get worse -- much worse. Some estimates put it as high as 20%, but that's in a "controlled devaluation" of the dollar. As I said above, "controlled devaluations" usually spiral out of control in the end.
So what do we do? First as foremost, there is no need to panic. Trying to secure your wealth this late in the game is pointless. Do what you can, if you know how, but don't expect any miracles. Most of the multi-millionaires in this country left two years ago in 2009. If you're still here stateside, like me, you're in it for the long haul. So fasten your seat belts. Over the last two years many people have been stockpiling food rations, water jugs, gasoline and ammunition. That's nice if you're expecting a nuclear war, but that isn't going to help you for very long in a deep economic depression. While it's always good to have a small food pantry and water for short-term emergencies, keep in mind that no man is an island. No matter how much you stockpile, sooner or later you're going to run out. So the most important thing to do is network. That's right, it's time to figure out who you're going to trade and barter with. Start setting up trading networks within your local parishes. Get your parish pastor involved in helping you if you can. Perhaps he can set your trading groups up with a space in the church building where weekly swap meets can happen. Now when I say swap meets, I mean REAL swap meets involving REAL swapping - trading of goods and not just money. Homeshoolers are already well equipped for this sort of thing, whether they realize it or not. They have excellent networks already established. These people may very well become the backbone of a new trading economy.
I cannot help but recall how the holocaust of abortion has exacerbated this problem for us. Over the last forty years we've aborted approximately forty-million unborn children. That's forty-million potential commercial consumers that are not with us today. Forty-million consumers could turn this economy around. A fairly large number of forty-million consumers would be taxpayers. Some of those forty-million would be employers. It makes one wonder what America's economy would be like with an extra forty-million people to make it go. Alas, I guess we'll never find out. We've got a long economic depression ahead of us now, so lets make due with what we've got. It's time to start thinking about gardening and canning your home-grown produce. If you don't know how, learn how, just Google it. The very first thing we need to do is get the cost of food down. This can be done by gardening and canning. The surplus you create can be traded with your neighbors and/or networks. Trading these canned groceries will have an immediate effect on lowing the bills for those in your network, and a cumulative effect over time of getting grocery stores to drop their prices on groceries. Remember it's all about supply and demand. If your neighbors and network friends don't need to buy groceries because they've just traded with your home garden, then the grocery store effectively has more to go around, and that inevitably results in lower prices.
We can do our part to get gas prices down too. It's called carpooling. Again, it's a supply and demand thing. Less cars on the road means less gas consumed, which in turn means more gas available, and you guessed it, that means lower prices. Lower gas prices has an effect on lowering the cost of everything over time. When (not if) it costs $10/gallon to fill up your gas tank, you'll see the wisdom in my words here.
Now I'm not big on "going green" but to save on electricity we may all be forced to buy florescent light bulbs. Conservation is going to become a way of life, not for the sake of the environment, but for the preservation of our bank accounts.
Yes, we will get through this, and somehow in the end we will be stronger. However, when I say "stronger" I don't mean wealthier. America's wealth is gone. We've traded it away for paper money that is based on nothing and is worth practically nothing. If the United States ever regains its power and prestige again, it won't be in this generation. For now, we have "forty years" of national penance to do.