“In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” writes author H.G. Wells in his short story The Country of the Blind. It is an apt description of the powerbrokers in Washington who cannot see the forest for the trees – or an inflation bomb about to explode. Whether they are in the Federal Reserve or the White House, politicians and bureaucrats appear out of touch with reality, sheltered in their isolated bubble away from the rest of society. Even statist billionaires can notice a tsunami approaching. Just ask Warren Buffett and his views on inflation.
The Oracle of Omaha Speaks
Warren Buffett, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO, participated in the conglomerate’s annual shareholder meeting on May 1, touching upon a diverse array of subjects, from the economic recovery to cryptocurrency. The one area generating widespread attention is inflation, and, according to Buffett, costs are going “up, up, up.” The Oracle of Omaha explained during the much-anticipated annual festivities:
“We are seeing very substantial inflation. It’s very interesting. We are raising prices. People are raising prices to us and it’s being accepted.
“We’ve got nine homebuilders in addition to our manufacture housing and operation, which is the largest in the country. So we really do a lot of housing. The costs are just up, up, up. Steel costs, you know, just every day they’re going up.”
As Liberty Nation has extensively reported, consumer and producer prices have been skyrocketing, driven by a concoction of Federal Reserve money-printing, simultaneous global demand, and limited supplies and output. The U.S. central bank has dismissed inflation as “transitory,” and now the administration in Washington has echoed this same sentiment.
Swamp of the Blind
Speaking in an interview with Fox News Sunday, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse shrugged off the increase in the cost of living as “transitory inflation” and refused to concede the inflationary aspects of President Joe Biden’s trillions in new spending.
“These are very serious concerns, and we know that coming out of an extremely deep recession that there are going to be bumps along the way. We expect that there is going to be supply chain disruptions. That will cause some transitory increases in prices,” she said.
Rouse defended her remarks by alluding to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who also expressed the view that the United States is going through transitory inflation as the national economy reopens. The Biden administration is not anticipating “runaway inflation,” although officials will be “watching the data” as America comes “out of a big recession.” According to Rouse and even the Eccles Building, it is not so much the historic level of printing and spending that is causing inflation. Instead, it is because the United States is coming out of the COVID-19 public health crisis that is why your supermarket meat is 4% higher than a year ago.
How Bad Is Inflation?
Across the board, nearly everything has gotten more expensive, from steel and soybeans to groceries and gasoline. In March, the annual inflation rate spiked to 2.6%, up from 1.7% in February. This was the highest reading since August 2018. Producer prices increased at a higher-than-expected pace of 1% in March. All indicators suggest that the United States and the rest of the world are only getting started on the inflation front. Will the world’s largest economy see inflation figures comparable to Turkey’s, running at 17%? Bank of America analysts believe “transitory hyper-inflation” is ahead. But while this is unlikely, inflation will still be high enough to harm the poor and middle class in damaging ways, especially when millions of Americans are still reeling from government-imposed lockdowns. America will be forced to pay for the trillions of dollars that have been printed and spent in one year. Be it soaring prices or higher interest rates, it is the 1970s all over again.
Read more from Andrew Moran.