Selling airline tickets to our increasingly pauperized consumers is an art. And hiding price increases is an even greater art. While there are people who don’t worry about the price as they luxuriate in first class, others aren’t so lucky. For them, the industry has a special treat: squeezing their hips.
Entries in Inflation & Devaluation (68)
By Dennis Miller: We all share a common goal: to grow our nest eggs and make sure they last over the long haul. Our generation was taught to live off the interest and never touch the principal, but interest rates for CDs and Treasuries no longer allow for that. They don’t even keep up with inflation, so we have to invest our money elsewhere if we want it to last.
By Shannara Johnson, Chief Editor, Casey Research: "After listening to the speakers, I made sure to program the number of the suicide hotline into my cell phone," real estate expert Andy Miller joked at the beginning of his speech. Rick Rule, resource investor and chairman of Sprott Holdings, quipped, "Amazing – I actually get to be the positive guy here."
By Dennis Miller, Miller’s Money: When I was a young buck out in the workplace, financial magazines published worksheets for calculating when you had enough money to retire. The process became easier when we got our first PC. For years, financial planners considered four basic numbers to be conservative estimates. But that all blew up in the fall of 2008.
By Dennis Miller, of Miller's Money: I don't know which is worse: realizing you cannot keep a promise you made to someone who was important to you, or being the person who relied on the promise when you finally grasp that it is not going to be kept. Turns out, neither corporations nor governments can keep the pension promises they made.
People in the upper income categories, those who don’t have to worry about the price of toilet paper, have seen their incomes rise over the years. The rest are in a downward spiral: median household income, adjusted for inflation, has dropped 7.8% since 2000. The lower end got hit the hardest. For these folks, tissue makers have a special strategy: desheeting.
Fed Chairman Bernanke and his ilk refuse to see the connection. They’re too busy ogling inflation in the US that is suspiciously low. But China has its eyes riveted on the revolt in Brazil. Like all revolts, it’s about deep-seated issues and inequalities, but the spark that lit it – after inflation had made life too expensive – was an increase in bus fares.
The Japanese stock market has become a case study of central-bank manipulations, and of what happens eventually as reality cannot be eliminated forever. What you hear is a giant hissing sound. What you get is capital destruction and wealth transfer.
Fed’s Fisher Hilariously Slams Fiscal-Policy Chaos, Slugs QE, And Throws In Funny Video Spoof of Congress
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is one of the funniest – and most disturbing – voices out there in the sea of equivocating central bankers. But this time, he outdid himself in the dreadfulness of his warning and the humor of his presentation.
The issue of inflation is complex everywhere. Official rates are disputed. People can’t reconcile them with what they see at the store. There are different formulas, resulting in different rates, and everyone picks and chooses what suits their needs. But nowhere is the issue as “complex,” infested with lies, and shrouded in obscurity as in Argentina. But 34.9%?
Anecdotal evidence has been piling up. Lamborghini sales hit the highest level in 14 years. Ferrari sales jumped 40%. Luxury retailers forecast fat profits. They ascribed it to Abenomics. “The sudden improvement in the stock market led to a big rise in sales at our department stores for luxury brands,” one of them said. But there is a price to pay.
Contributed by Chriss Street. FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig lambasted in an editorial the too-big-to-fail banks. But why would a top bank regulator complain about the US banking scheme? A warning that if Janet Yellen is chosen to replace Fed Chairman Bernanke, her strategy of igniting inflation to reduce unemployment will cause another banking crisis.
I’ve been a fan of David Stockman ever since he got in trouble for speaking the truth as Budget Director under President Reagan. But his new book, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America—what an awesome romp through the economic, financial, and monetary shenanigans of our times!
Contributed by Chriss Street. The reign of the US dollar as the only reserve currency may soon end. The US-centric balance of economic and military power has been destabilized by the crumbling of EU welfare states and the rise of the state-sponsored capitalist BRICS, eager to seize the opportunity to attack the dollar’s preeminence.
Contributed by Chriss Street. Despite late winter storms that blanketed the Mid-West and East Coast with snow, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the 2nd worst drought since the Great Depression will continue to lay waste to wheat and corn production. Compounding effects will slow the economy and cause food prices to rise.
Deutsche Bank, long coddled by the German government, is mired in “matters” from Libor rate-rigging to carbon-trading tax-fraud. Now a new “matter” seeped out: the bank had known for years about the impact of commodities speculation on food prices and the havoc it wreaked on people in poor countries. And it lied about it to the German Parliament.
We’ve had an endless series of products whose ingredients have been cheapened in order to maintain the price. Consumers won’t be able to taste the difference, the theory goes. So, as the horse-meat lasagna scandal in Europe is spiraling beautifully out of control, we’re now getting hit where it hurts: Maker’s Mark is watering down its bourbon.
Hasbro, second largest toymaker in the US, confessed it would miss revenue estimates. Christmas wasn’t kind. Despite “double digit growth” in emerging markets, revenues fell by 2% for 2012 and by 3.8% for the quarter. Other corporations are in a similar predicament. But substantive inflation would have covered it up—not that the Fed hasn't been trying.
Especially of CEOs who parachute into the executive office. Wall Street's knee-jerk reaction can be phenomenal. Citigroup’s massacre of 11,000 souls caused its stock to jump. But the same day, we learn that wages adjusted for inflation dropped 1.4% in the third quarter—a continuation of 12 years of declines that has hollowed out the middle class, pushed people into the lower classes, and devastated the poor.
The inexplicable American consumer, the strongest creature out there that no one has been able to subdue yet, has come to grips with a new reality, euphemistically called “New Normal,” though it isn’t normal by any means, but dismal. Feeling more upbeat, they nudged up the Consumer Confidence Index to a level not seen since February 2008—a level that caused people to tear their hair out at the time.