Monetary Inflation. Inflation is a major problem for all of us. I believe too many people have simplistic answers to why monetary inflation is occurring. Inflation is not caused by one person or anything that can be described by one word. Inflation is complicated.
I am not an economist. In my continuing attempt to educate myself about major issues, I asked an economist for his understanding of the causes of inflation at this time. Based on what he said, I have the following thoughts and opinions.
First, the initial factor to be considered in thinking about inflation is the decision to invade Ukraine made by Vladimir Putin. If he had not made the decision to attack Ukraine, gas prices would not have increased the way they have increased in recent months. Raising the cost of gas increases the cost of many goods as well as transportation, thus contributing to inflation.
A related factor is the US policy responses to global climate change. You may not believe in climate change or that it is caused in part by fossil fuel emissions, but policy decisions have been made that reduced the evaluability of fossil fuels. The lower availability means higher prices, thus inflation. By the way, if you are a doubter about climate change you should read the following link:
Another related factor is respect for sovereignty of tribal lands. The decision to stop construction of the Keystone Pipeline was in part due to treaties which the current administration respects. Stopping construction decreased fuel availability, thus increasing prices and inflation.
The second major factor is COVID. Rightly or wrongly the decision to help the economy in response to COVID was to print money. Stimulus checks were given to individuals. Businesses were given loans under the Payroll Protection Plan. If the businesses did not layoff personnel, the loans were forgiven. Increasing money in circulation increases inflation.
A related factor is many more jobs are available than people are willing to work. We are experiencing some unwillingness to work since COVID. Therefore, employers are having to pay higher wages to attract employees. Higher wages increase costs and thus increase inflation.
A third factor related to COVID is the Fed. The tool the Federal Reserve has against inflation is to raise interest rates. However, to aid the economic recovery from COVID the Fed has kept interest rates very low.
A fourth factor related to COVID is supply chain issues. China is a major producer of goods. COVID issues reduced the availability of supplies from China for a variety of reasons. The supply chain issues contributed to inflation.
In my opinion, our current inflation issues are primarily caused by Putin and COVID. If neither had occurred, we would not have the inflation we face today. However, since Putin’s invasion and COVID did occur, our policies and responses to those events also contributed to inflation. Increasing fossil fuel availability and not printing money would have reduced inflation, but would have had other negative consequences. The issue is more complicated than a single person or single political response.
The Aging Process. I took my next step in the aging process, I got very expensive hearing aids. My hearing test showed a loss in the high pitch range. Now I will have no way to claim I cannot hear Jeny. I will have to use failing memory as my excuse.
Aging is not a choice. It happens. Our response to aging involves several choices. How I cared for my body throughout my life is a big factor in the quality of my life as I age. How accepting I am of limitations is also important. Recognizing the need for a hearing aid was not as important as accepting the wearing of them. I could still “get by” without them. I hear better with them.
Accepting hair loss, wrinkles etc. is a privilege many people do not get to experience. I embrace it and am glad for each day. Since my stroke I hve a deeper appreciation for each day and the privilege of living another one.
A good friend, who is not a country music fan sent me a video by Alan Jackson. He said, and I agree, the song has a good message even if you are not a fan of country music. Some sample lyrics are —
And the older I get
The truer it is
It’s the people you love, not the money and stuff
That makes you rich
March Madness. NCAA basketball has been great this year, with upsets, close games and good basketball. I have not followed the women as closely as the men but from what I can tell the same excitement is occurring in the women’s tournament.
I am rooting for Gonzaga. Their coach has done a great job for a long time. Despite my son’s love for Duke and my brother’s love for Kansas University, I am rooting for a mid-major. I think of the situation as a modern university example of the movie — Hoosier.
Simeone Spencer. Our daughter-in-law Laura worked in Washington D.C. with Simeone Spencer, the son of a preacher in Tuscaloosa. After he left Washington, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary. He is pastor of Union Baptist Church in Trenton New Jersey. He describes himself as a Black Baptist preacher. He has a large congregation.
Laura sent me the link to his sermon the last Sunday in February. To me his sermon is a proper mix of the celebration of Black History Month, an exhortation of his members and a call to the faith we can all share. He was amazing even though there were very few people in attendance due to COVID restrictions. I certainly enjoyed the service and found it to be meaningful.
Wow! Read this about a man giving away a million dollars worth of gas in Chicago.
Another athlete with a good heart.
March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day.