Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Middle class suffers from inflation

There is a growing belief among economists, highlighted in a recent debate I had with Nouriel Roubini, that higher prices are actually a benefit to consumers. They believe that the growth created by inflation is worth more than the cost imposed at check-out lines. Instead, we are simply getting another dose of 1970s-style stagflation as higher prices simply amplify the pain of a stagnant economy and diminished employment opportunities.

The good news for Roubini and his ilk is that inflation does indeed help some people…the very rich. I have long argued that Fed stimulus and quantitative easing only result in the formation of asset bubbles that unevenly favor the rich, while misdirecting capital away from savings and productive investments that would benefit everyone else. Economists had blamed the recent disappointments from mass-market retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Staples, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Pet Smart (to name but a few) on the ravages of winter weather rather than weak fundamentals. But yesterday the upscale vendor Tiffany’s issued a boffo report that showed net income up an astounding 50% over first quarter in 2013. The rich seemed to have little trouble braving the elements to buy baubles on Fifth Avenue, yet average Americans were too thin-skinned to make it to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

While the world talks about the dangers of deflation, which offers no harm to economies or consumers, actual inflation is everywhere to be seen and nowhere acknowledged. Instead, we get a universal agreement that the middle class must continue to suffer so that the Fed and financial speculators can continue to revel in the charade.

Peter Schiff is a smart investor and author of several best selling books. He correctly predicted the economic meltdown of 2008 - 2009

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