The Inflation

The Inflation Special

I’ve been taking a break from the road for the last three weeks and plan on another ten days or so. The rhythm of life is very different here, but the constant concern with controlling expenses remains the same. I have this in common with at least eighty percent of my fellow citizens. No one but the very rich feel secure in the current economic climate. And the inflation is making it much worse.

During the last depression there was no inflation. But now the price of crude oil is driving up the cost of everything, especially fuel and food. This is tantamount to a very regressive tax, levied not by government, which would presumably give us back the money in the form of programs, but rather by private companies. And, to add insult to injury, the runaway price of oil is being driven not by the invisible hand of the market responding to a shortage but instead by un-regulated Wall Street speculators.

I call it a regressive tax because strong inflation, especially in gasoline, heating fuel, and food, always hurts the poor much more than the rich. A year ago I could buy three bags of basic groceries for about thirty dollars in my local (somewhat upscale but competitive if I shop right) market. Now the same three bags is about forty five dollars. If I don’t have it I must buy less food. The beans and potatoes stay in cart, but the fresh strawberries are traded for a can of pears. A whole chicken will make three meals for two people. The white eggs are a dollar cheaper than the favored brown eggs. I really must get chickens again. I could go to a known discount outlet, but I would have to drive further. Gas is over four dollars a gallon. This cruel calculus is my constant companion. Usually there isn’t quite enough and sometimes there is a dangerous shortfall. And I am lucky because I live in a semi-rural county with a ten month growing season. In the wastelands of the inner city and the rust belt it is so much worse…

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  1. charlis
    April 28, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Wow, Bels! Your writing just gets better and better. And, you are right-on about the regressive tax business, but something that you apparently don’t know is about chicken egg colors. White eggs come from chickens with white ear lobes. Brown eggs come from chickens with brown or red earlobes. Yup, that’s the only difference. (What they call earlobes is actually the the skin around the sides of their face.) So, you can save some $$$$ there.

    If you’re talking about Grocery Outlet being further, unless you’re getting really low gas mileage, it shouldn’t cost more than $1-2 to drive there, and you’ll save that much easily. They even have fresh vegs, fruit and meat nowadays and their prices on frozen/canned/boxed food and toiletries have always been outstanding. The last time I moved the presence of a fairly close Grocery Outlet was actually one of my criteria.

    Hope you’re enjoying your time home and taking care of yourself.

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