Supply Chain Crisis and Inflation
COMMENT: Hello Mr. Armstrong. Thank you for my daily dose of reality. Your blog is one of the last sources of untainted news. I would like to show these pictures my daughter sent me last week. We live in an affluent neighborhood in New Jersey where petty theft does not occur. The news outlets have not mentioned baby formula shortages. I do not believe they are locking up the baby formula to prevent crime. What is going on here?
Thanks — C.G.
REPLY: The supply chain issue has never been resolved. It improved from the days of bare shelves in the grocery stores, but many essentials are stuck in the pipeline. Products that expire will see additional shortages naturally. The supply shortage is fueling inflation and raising rates will not solve the problem.
The Fed thinks that raising rates will curb inflation by raising the cost of borrowing. That is not the problem here. Part of the inflationary crisis we are witnessing is due to demand outweighing available supply across industries. The Fed cannot control government spending nor the money supply. People are viewing the crisis today from the perspective of the ‘60s when it was NOT possible to borrow on T bills. After the collapse of Bretton Woods in ’71, you COULD trade off government debt and that eliminated the idea that it was less inflationary to borrow rather than spend. Artificially low rates that created a borrowing addiction among institutions who believed it was safe to do so.
Powell cannot come out and criticize Congress for their spending. These rate hikes are not good for the supply chain shortages. Inflation went up two years before the Fed even addressed rates due to the supply chain crisis. The central bank only began to hike rates after the war in Ukraine began. Notice how at the last meeting, the FOMC incorporated that they will monitor “international events.” WAR is the primary driver of inflation and there is nothing that the central bank can do to prevent the destruction caused by government and years of poor monetary policy.
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