06 March 2012

Can you eat a Credit Card ?

A recent article in The Daily Mail highlights how cash strapped Brits are relying more heavily on credit to buy daily necessities such as groceries. More interesting was the chart showing the increase in the price of grocery items (9.45 % according their numbers) which dovetails nicely with my own experience when buying food.

I recently commented to my wife that growing fruit and vegetables is probably far more profitable (and legally acceptable) than marijuana. This was based on the sticker shock I experienced when buying some blueberries and crackers at the store. Two things struck me. First, blueberries could be the new crack cocaine for local gangs to begin selling in our area. Second, the physical size of many of the things we buy (such as cracker boxes and Girl Scout Cookies) are shrinking while their price increases. The Mail's article citing 9.45 % price inflation is not far off from the rumored real U.S. inflation rate of 8 %.

Let's face it, whether the politicians and bankers want to slap a pretty name ("Quantitative Easing") or not on the massive printing of new money, all of that cash sloshing around the system will eventually drive up the costs of commodities and create inflation. We are currently witnessing the U.S. political theater that comes about when the price of gasoline rises- Republicans blame Democrats, Democrats blame Republicans. I blame them all.

This is not a U.S. centric problem, however, and the loose money policies of the old European regimes are just as much to blame as the U.S. Decades of fatal political and economic decisions based on preserving power, rather than doing the best for the citizenry, have bankrupted the system. Even the Economist recently showed its ire by kicking Argentina out of its weekly statistics section for playing fast and loose with the figures they submitted. If nations are now blatantly lying about the real rate of inflation in their economies, who knows what lurks under the tip of the ice burg ?

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