Can You Feel the Inflation Tonight?
Inflation is at a nearly 40-year high.
Fill me in.
Yesterday, the Labor Department said consumer prices climbed 7% in December compared to the year before. It’s the highest pace of inflation since the ‘80s, as everything from food to gas and cars got more expensive. The news comes amid an extremely tight labor market, staffing shortages, and supply chain issues. And as grocery store shelves are looking empty.
That doesn’t sound good.
It’s not. Inflation is believed to be the single greatest threat to economic recovery from the pandemic. It has all the money wizards at the Federal Reserve doing their delicate interest rates dance. Think: considering moving up interest rate hikes as soon as March. All while apparently trying not to overcorrect and cool down the jobs market.
Why does that dance sound…unwatchable?
Because it’s stressful. And the Fed isn’t the only one sweating. All of this comes as the country prepares for an election year (hi, midterms). Republicans are blaming President Biden and legislative spending for the inflation bump. Meanwhile, the Biden admin says it’s "making progress" on keeping prices down. But that more needs to be done. There are signs supply chain issues could ease before November. But prices are expected to stay high throughout 2022.
No one needed yesterday’s news to know that their wallets are hurting. But the report is putting pressure on the gov to turn down the inflationary heat…or possibly risk a recession. Tick tock.
PS: You can’t control inflation but you can control your budget — and adjust your spending when possible. See tips here.
What’s on the move…
Omicron. Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the COVID-19 variant is likely to infect “just about everybody.” But that the vaccinated will likely fare better. The announcement comes as US hospitalizations continue to break records, with more than 150,000 COVID-19-positive patients this week. It also comes as some European health experts are starting to see the virus more like an endemic illness (like the flu). And as the White House begins sending out 10 million COVID-19 tests for schools a month. The WH is also considering options to make high-quality masks more widely available (see: N95s, KN95s). But experts say cases in the UK and US could start dropping off soon.
Another crisis: Blood shortages. The Red Cross is warning this week that COVID-19, weather, and staffing limitations have caused the worst blood shortage in over a decade. And is declaring its first-ever national blood crisis. Consider donating here.
PS: Here's everything we know about the Omicron variant (so far).
Who people are remembering...
Ronnie Spector. Yesterday, the lead singer of the ‘60s girl group The Ronettes died after a battle with cancer. She was at 78. The group was known for hits like “Be my Baby,” “Walking in the Rain,” and “Baby, I Love You.” And in 2007, they were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tributes from music legends including Brian Wilson, Stevie Van Zandt, and Diane Warren came flooding in. Spector's family remembered her as someone with a “spunky attitude” and “a wicked sense of humor.”
Who’s been cryptic about crypto…
Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather. And some other celebs. The pair are facing a class action complaint that accuses them of inflating the price of the cryptocurrency EthereumMax. The lawsuit says the celebrities made “false or misleading statements” on social media and elsewhere. The currency has reportedly lost around 97% of its value since June. So much for Keeping Up with the Stock Market.
PS: Skip the scam. Learn the ins and outs of crypto before you decide to buy.
Who's the role model kids need...
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