Katie Porter - What Is Causing Inflation?

Cheerful Charlie

Contributor
Katie Porter Strikes Again!

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Seems pretty clear to me.

Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas. US retaliated by embargoing Russian products, monetary access, oil, and gas in defense of both Ukraine and European Union. As a result shortages increased to levels above what they were during Covid crisis.

By so doing American consumers blamed party in power rather than bad actor Russia. Fairweather patriot Republicans are now profiting from our courageous actions by blaming government rather than Russia for inflation.

Wod. Republicans will probably gain because they are fair weather patriots profiting from strong government responses to bad actor.

Fuck off Republicans. Apparently you'd rather have Ukraine fall to Russia and Europe be subjugated by Russia rather than pay a few dollars more for stuff in defense of western democracies.

Harry Bosch

Contributor
Seems pretty clear to me.

Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas. US retaliated by embargoing Russian products, monetary access, oil, and gas in defense of both Ukraine and European Union. As a result shortages increased to levels above what they were during Covid crisis.

By so doing American consumers blamed party in power rather than bad actor Russia. Fairweather patriot Republicans are now profiting from our courageous actions by blaming government rather than Russia for inflation.

Wod. Republicans will probably gain because they are fair weather patriots profiting from strong government responses to bad actor.

Fuck off Republicans. Apparently you'd rather have Ukraine fall to Russia and Europe be subjugated by Russia rather than pay a few dollars more for stuff in defense of western democracies.
WRONG. Inflation is high in the US because Biden has stopped oil companies from drilling and taxes are too high. Republicans will fix this through tax cuts, drilling more, investigating Hunter, and encouraging god-fearing Americans to take back our country.

TV and credit cards

Veteran Member
Seems pretty clear to me.

Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas. US retaliated by embargoing Russian products, monetary access, oil, and gas in defense of both Ukraine and European Union. As a result shortages increased to levels above what they were during Covid crisis.

By so doing American consumers blamed party in power rather than bad actor Russia. Fairweather patriot Republicans are now profiting from our courageous actions by blaming government rather than Russia for inflation.

Wod. Republicans will probably gain because they are fair weather patriots profiting from strong government responses to bad actor.

Fuck off Republicans. Apparently you'd rather have Ukraine fall to Russia and Europe be subjugated by Russia rather than pay a few dollars more for stuff in defense of western democracies.
WRONG. Inflation is high in the US because Biden has stopped oil companies from drilling and taxes are too high. Republicans will fix this through tax cuts, drilling more, investigating Hunter, and encouraging god-fearing Americans to take back our country.
NUH-UH. Katie is spot on. She is the sunlight that sooner or later, one of these fucking days is going to start disinfecting. Just you wait and see. It's gonna happen. I just know it.

Jimmy Higgins

Contributor
Seems pretty clear to me.

Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas. US retaliated by embargoing Russian products, monetary access, oil, and gas in defense of both Ukraine and European Union. As a result shortages increased to levels above what they were during Covid crisis.

By so doing American consumers blamed party in power rather than bad actor Russia. Fairweather patriot Republicans are now profiting from our courageous actions by blaming government rather than Russia for inflation.

Wod. Republicans will probably gain because they are fair weather patriots profiting from strong government responses to bad actor.

Fuck off Republicans. Apparently you'd rather have Ukraine fall to Russia and Europe be subjugated by Russia rather than pay a few dollars more for stuff in defense of western democracies.
WRONG. Inflation is high in the US because Biden has stopped oil companies from drilling and taxes are too high. Republicans will fix this through tax cuts, drilling more, investigating Hunter, and encouraging god-fearing Americans to take back our country.
*salutes American flag*

LAPTOP! LAPTOP! LAPTOP! LAPTOP!

Swammerdami

Squadron Leader
Staff member
Katie Porter Strikes Again!
... Porter grilled Mike Konczal ...

I don't think she had to "grill" very hard — I'll guess he prepped her on what questions to ask! Konczal may be an expert economist (he co-authored a book with Joseph Stiglitz) but definitely comes from the leftish side of the aisle. Here's an interesting opinion he posted at N.Y. Times 16 months ago.

Seems pretty clear to me. Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas....

Fuck off Republicans. Apparently you'd rather have Ukraine fall to Russia and Europe be subjugated by Russia rather than pay a few dollars more for stuff in defense of western democracies.

Calling inflation or other present-day economic conundrums "pretty clear" might be an exaggeration.

Stocks were already over-priced with a big debt bubble looming ominously. Covid and Inflation dealt a big double whammy. And then comes the biggest war in Europe of our lifetimes. Didn't all the smart folk sell stocks in 2022? It may not be too late to sell!
My own excuses: (a) my investments were already very conservative, (b) I did take some baby-steps in the right direction, (c) tax consequences.

Swammerdami

Squadron Leader
Staff member
Here is a 12-page pdf paper by Mike Konczal arguing that much inflation is caused by price hikes from powerful corporations. Far from struggling in the face of rising costs, they are setting profit records while also setting record pricing margins.

Here's one paragraph from the paper:
A third explanation argues that market power has been a driver of overall price increases, as the interaction
of demand and supply changes have given firms, especially dominant ones, more power and discretion to
set upward pricing strategies during the shifting demand and supply dynamics of the recovery. The more
concentrated the economy is, the more ability the dominant firms have to turn pandemics shocks into higher
prices (Bräuning, Fillat, and Joaquim 2022). In the tax incidence literature, which analyzes who ultimately
bears cost increases between firms and consumers, the idea of “over-shifting,” or a pass-through rate of over
100 percent for costs, is both present in the latest models and seen in the empirical evidence.

Harry Bosch

Contributor
Katie Porter Strikes Again!
... Porter grilled Mike Konczal ...

I don't think she had to "grill" very hard — I'll guess he prepped her on what questions to ask! Konczal may be an expert economist (he co-authored a book with Joseph Stiglitz) but definitely comes from the leftish side of the aisle. Here's an interesting opinion he posted at N.Y. Times 16 months ago.

Seems pretty clear to me. Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas....

Fuck off Republicans. Apparently you'd rather have Ukraine fall to Russia and Europe be subjugated by Russia rather than pay a few dollars more for stuff in defense of western democracies.

Calling inflation or other present-day economic conundrums "pretty clear" might be an exaggeration.

Stocks were already over-priced with a big debt bubble looming ominously. Covid and Inflation dealt a big double whammy. And then comes the biggest war in Europe of our lifetimes. Didn't all the smart folk sell stocks in 2022? It may not be too late to sell!
My own excuses: (a) my investments were already very conservative, (b) I did take some baby-steps in the right direction, (c) tax consequences.
Nope. I'm holding and buying. Today is a great buying opportunity. I'm thinking that the economy will rebound quicker than anticipated. If not, I'll just delay retiring a little. I never sell in down market.

ZiprHead

Loony Running The Asylum
Staff member
Here is a 12-page pdf paper by Mike Konczal arguing that much inflation is caused by price hikes from powerful corporations. Far from struggling in the face of rising costs, they are setting profit records while also setting record pricing margins.

Here's one paragraph from the paper:
A third explanation argues that market power has been a driver of overall price increases, as the interaction
of demand and supply changes have given firms, especially dominant ones, more power and discretion to
set upward pricing strategies during the shifting demand and supply dynamics of the recovery. The more
concentrated the economy is, the more ability the dominant firms have to turn pandemics shocks into higher
prices (Bräuning, Fillat, and Joaquim 2022). In the tax incidence literature, which analyzes who ultimately
bears cost increases between firms and consumers, the idea of “over-shifting,” or a pass-through rate of over
100 percent for costs, is both present in the latest models and seen in the empirical evidence.
And the Republicans are helping them get away with it by blaming Biden and Democrats, basically lying to the American voter.

Derec

Contributor
Katie Porter Strikes Again!

Alternet? Really? That's your source? What, could not find anything on Counterpunch or DailyKos?

It's funny how lefties on this board dismiss certain sources but have no problem with these extremist blogs.

As far as reasons for inflation, it is hard to argue that monetary policy (interest rates too low for too long) and fiscal policy (spending trillions) did not cause inflation together with things like supply chain issues.
And yes, it was necessary to spend trillions in the wave of COVID shutting down economies worldwide, although many programs were poorly conceived and were allowed to go on too long. But the Biden administration wanted to spend additional $3.5T in inflationary spending as part of B3. Most of that would be giveaways to those who have children, especially many children, as well as tax cuts for blue state rich. Good things most of B3 was prevented. Then Biden cancelled loans for some borrowers (those who took their loans before 2010 are shit out of luck because of a technicality) which will cost the taxpayers additional$400G or $0.4T if you prefer. That too will be inflationary. To blame corporate greed exclusively or mostly, why now? Were corporations less greedy when inflation hovered around 2% for decades? Derec Contributor Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas. US retaliated by embargoing Russian products, monetary access, oil, and gas in defense of both Ukraine and European Union. As a result shortages increased to levels above what they were during Covid crisis. That certainly plays a role. As does COVID spending, some of which was unnecessary or kept on for too long. As did the monetary policies of very low interest rates for most of the time since 2008 recession. The thing is, after all this COVID spending Biden administration wanted to spend additional$3.5T in profligate spending as well as $400G on student loan forgiveness (those who took out their loans before 2010 need not apply btw.) That too is inflationary, and given the spending necessitated by COVID it was irresponsible to push it. By so doing American consumers blamed party in power rather than bad actor Russia. Fairweather patriot Republicans are now profiting from our courageous actions by blaming government rather than Russia for inflation. Russia should be blamed for their actions in Ukraine. And yes, the invasion did exacerbate matters. That does not mean that fiscal policies of US (and other western governments) are blameless for the inflation they are experiencing. Wod. Republicans will probably gain because they are fair weather patriots profiting from strong government responses to bad actor. Republicans will probably gain because president's party usually loses in the midterms, esp. if the president has low approval ratings. laughing dog Contributor T Katie Porter Strikes Again! Alternet? Really? That's your source? What, could not find anything on Counterpunch or DailyKos? It's funny how lefties on this board dismiss certain sources but have no problem with these extremist blogs. As far as reasons for inflation, it is hard to argue that monetary policy (interest rates too low for too long) and fiscal policy (spending trillions) did not cause inflation together with things like supply chain issues. And yes, it was necessary to spend trillions in the wave of COVID shutting down economies worldwide, although many programs were poorly conceived and were allowed to go on too long. But the Biden administration wanted to spend additional$3.5T in inflationary spending as part of B3. Most of that would be giveaways to those who have children, especially many children, as well as tax cuts for blue state rich. Good things most of B3 was prevented. Then Biden cancelled loans for some borrowers (those who took their loans before 2010 are shit out of luck because of a technicality) which will cost the taxpayers additional $400G or$0.4T if you prefer. That too will be inflationary.

To blame corporate greed exclusively or mostly, why now? Were corporations less greedy when inflation hovered around 2% for decades?
Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets.

Derec

Contributor
Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets.
Are there really significantly fewer competitors now than say 10 years ago? If so, in what sectors? We certainly have a lot of grocery store companies, chains (Publix, Kroger, Walmart are very active here, and there are smaller chains like Piggly Wiggly and H-Mart) as well as independent large (Your DeKalb Farmers' Market in Decatur for example) and small grocery stores (e.g. David's Produce on LaVista for vegetables or Spotted Trotter on Moreland for meat or Kathleen's Catch on Clairmont (and two other locations) for fish). And yet, groceries exhibit a great deal of inflation. There are also a number of car companies, domestic as well as foreign, but cars have become expensive as fuck. So we know that lack of competition can't be the only, or even dominant reason for the level of inflation we are seeing. Fiscal and monetary policies, as well as shocks like COVID and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, remain the primary drivers of inflation as far as I can see.

And in sectors with little competition, proper government policy would be to reduce any artificial barriers to entry for competitors. Note that often, barriers to entry are not artificial. It takes a lot of capital to create a car company (which is why Tesla was such a big deal), or to build a refinery. But government could make it easier by removing onerous regulation that make things more difficult than necessary. What does Katie Porter suggest we do to address competition?

RVonse

Veteran Member
Katie Porter Strikes Again!

Alternet? Really? That's your source? What, could not find anything on Counterpunch or DailyKos?

It's funny how lefties on this board dismiss certain sources but have no problem with these extremist blogs.

As far as reasons for inflation, it is hard to argue that monetary policy (interest rates too low for too long) and fiscal policy (spending trillions) did not cause inflation together with things like supply chain issues.
And yes, it was necessary to spend trillions in the wave of COVID shutting down economies worldwide, although many programs were poorly conceived and were allowed to go on too long. But the Biden administration wanted to spend additional $3.5T in inflationary spending as part of B3. Most of that would be giveaways to those who have children, especially many children, as well as tax cuts for blue state rich. Good things most of B3 was prevented. Then Biden cancelled loans for some borrowers (those who took their loans before 2010 are shit out of luck because of a technicality) which will cost the taxpayers additional$400G or $0.4T if you prefer. That too will be inflationary. All of this. But most important of all (and always overlooked) is that the baby boomers are leaving the workforce en mass right now. And no matter what or how the fed thinks it can financially engineer the macro economy, you just can not take away all that productivity (highly skilled work being done by very experienced boomers) and still expect prices to be stable when there is still the same amount of paper (fiat currency) chasing less goods that are being produced. I would not expect inflation to improve anytime soon either. The youngest boomers were born in 1964 so there are still many highly productive workers that are yet to leave. zorq Veteran Member Katie Porter Strikes Again! Alternet? Really? That's your source? What, could not find anything on Counterpunch or DailyKos? It's funny how lefties on this board dismiss certain sources but have no problem with these extremist blogs. This isn't some extremist media produced survey on whether R's or D's are more likely to be sexual predators. This is an article publishing portions of a transcript of an exchange of a US House Committee meeting. Unless you are accusing the Alternet of altering the text of the transcript to fit, I think your objection here is silly. As far as reasons for inflation, it is hard to argue that monetary policy (interest rates too low for too long) and fiscal policy (spending trillions) did not cause inflation together with things like supply chain issues. And yes, it was necessary to spend trillions in the wave of COVID shutting down economies worldwide, although many programs were poorly conceived and were allowed to go on too long. But the Biden administration wanted to spend additional$3.5T in inflationary spending as part of B3. Most of that would be giveaways to those who have children, especially many children, as well as tax cuts for blue state rich. Good things most of B3 was prevented. Then Biden cancelled loans for some borrowers (those who took their loans before 2010 are shit out of luck because of a technicality) which will cost the taxpayers additional $400G or$0.4T if you prefer. That too will be inflationary.

To blame corporate greed exclusively or mostly, why now? Were corporations less greedy when inflation hovered around 2% for decades?
To understand blaming corporate greed, you just have to follow the money. Duh.

To be specific, you have to actually look at the price increases corporations have implemented and then compare those to the expense increases and corporate profit increases that the corporations are publishing. You know, exactly what Katie Porter's chart does. And you can see that 54% of the price increases are going to the corporate profits column, while before only 11.4% of price increases went into that column.

This isn't difficult.

Please also note that it is perfectly okay for companies to not INCREASE their profits, and instead have no increases in profits or have mild decreases in profits and still remain profitable. Paying out executives and shareholders slices of the pie that are perpetually increasing isn't actually great for the economy. Increasing the slice that workers take home is often a much better alternative. America's status as an economic and intellectual powerhouse comes from the strength of its middle class.

What I'm saying is just because the baseline since 1979 has been 11.4% doesn't mean that it is the only healthy number. 0% could be just as good or better if that means that employees are getting a bigger slice of the pie.

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Swammerdami

Squadron Leader
Staff member
Katie Porter Strikes Again!
Alternet? Really? That's your source? What, could not find anything on Counterpunch or DailyKos?

So, Alternet publishes leftish stories? Give yourself a Big Brownie Point for knowing that.
More important is: Are their stories — or rather this story in particular — factually correct? If you think not, post some examples of their falsities.

In fact, it is the news sources of your ilk that are wont to publish blatant lies. Do not confuse the right with the left and pretend that since the sources that preach to your ilk indulge in constant lying, the left does also.

Attacking the messenger, when the message is true, is unbecoming. Find a factual flaw in the story, or retract your nasty non sequitur, please.
Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets.
Are there really significantly fewer competitors now than say 10 years ago? . . .

I guess you couldn't bring yourself to actually read the cites provided. It was because of the various repricings already underway due to Covid disruptions that big corporations had the opportunity for repricings, pretending them due to rising costs but in fact acting on their "fiduciary responsibility" to maximize shareholder value.

Elsewhere in the thread, you seem to deny the enormous monopoly or oligopoly power that many of today's corporations have. That's too HUGE an ignorance to fight in this thread. Start a new thread for that.

Hope this helps.

Elixir

Made in America
too HUGE an ignorance to fight

… is the ONLY stock in trade for the RW.
Ignorance of the Constitution makes 1/6 rioters into war heroes, ignorance of the law makes their Mango Monarch into a living God, ignorance of statistics makes them eager victims of fearmongering….

Just like evil financial institutions that are “too big to fail”, the ignorance of conservotards is too big to fight.

ZiprHead

Loony Running The Asylum
Staff member
Katie Porter Strikes Again!

Alternet? Really? That's your source? What, could not find anything on Counterpunch or DailyKos?

It's funny how lefties on this board dismiss certain sources but have no problem with these extremist blogs.

As far as reasons for inflation, it is hard to argue that monetary policy (interest rates too low for too long) and fiscal policy (spending trillions) did not cause inflation together with things like supply chain issues.
And yes, it was necessary to spend trillions in the wave of COVID shutting down economies worldwide, although many programs were poorly conceived and were allowed to go on too long. But the Biden administration wanted to spend additional $3.5T in inflationary spending as part of B3. Most of that would be giveaways to those who have children, especially many children, as well as tax cuts for blue state rich. Good things most of B3 was prevented. Then Biden cancelled loans for some borrowers (those who took their loans before 2010 are shit out of luck because of a technicality) which will cost the taxpayers additional$400G or $0.4T if you prefer. That too will be inflationary. To blame corporate greed exclusively or mostly, why now? Were corporations less greedy when inflation hovered around 2% for decades? That seems very much to be an argument from incredulity. ZiprHead Loony Running The Asylum Staff member Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets. Are there really significantly fewer competitors now than say 10 years ago? If so, in what sectors? We certainly have a lot of grocery store companies, chains (Publix, Kroger, Walmart are very active here, and there are smaller chains like Piggly Wiggly and H-Mart) as well as independent large (Your DeKalb Farmers' Market in Decatur for example) and small grocery stores (e.g. David's Produce on LaVista for vegetables or Spotted Trotter on Moreland for meat or Kathleen's Catch on Clairmont (and two other locations) for fish). And yet, groceries exhibit a great deal of inflation. There are also a number of car companies, domestic as well as foreign, but cars have become expensive as fuck. So we know that lack of competition can't be the only, or even dominant reason for the level of inflation we are seeing. Fiscal and monetary policies, as well as shocks like COVID and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, remain the primary drivers of inflation as far as I can see. And in sectors with little competition, proper government policy would be to reduce any artificial barriers to entry for competitors. Note that often, barriers to entry are not artificial. It takes a lot of capital to create a car company (which is why Tesla was such a big deal), or to build a refinery. But government could make it easier by removing onerous regulation that make things more difficult than necessary. What does Katie Porter suggest we do to address competition? This ditectly addresses your questions. And by the way... The Kroger Co. Family of Stores includes: • Baker’s • City Market • Dillons • Food 4 Less • Foods Co • Fred Meyer • Fry’s • Gerbes • Jay C Food Store • King Soopers • Kroger • Mariano’s • Metro Market • Pay-Less Super Markets • Pick’n Save • QFC • Ralphs • Ruler • Smith’s Food and Drug Gospel Unify Africa None of this is upsetting. My outrage is reserved for this guy. Oleg Me Jarhyn Wizard What is causing this inflation is clearly global, and the thing that makes such global inflation happen is an increasing cost of energy. This is one of the reasons utilities are strictly regulated in the west, but that matters little when the regulations against gouging are incapable of touching various bad actors, or when a resource goes "out of play" due to its unacceptable destructive secondary effects. It is not something Biden could possibly be causing. It is rather something RUSSIA is causing. ZiprHead Loony Running The Asylum Staff member For Oleg: My wife collects gemstones. One of her favorites is chrome diopside. However, the few mines in the world mining chrome diopside are getting played out and the stones are getting harder to find. So the remaining stones that are found and and those already on the market have increased in price tremendously. Inflation due to scarcity. No government policies involved at all. Not all inflation is caused by governments creating money. It's that simple. Oh, and Milton Friedman is an asshole. Cheerful Charlie Contributor Google for David Hope and Julian Limberg. The Consequences of Major Tax Cuts For the Rich, pdf. Looking at the economics of big tax cuts for the rich in 18 nations. That is Supply Side Economics, trickle down. Neoliberalism. Does that create prosperity for all? No. in the Globe and Mail Economy Lab Milton Friedman was famous for his one-liners. One of his most repeated lines was: "I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible." Ford Contributor Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets. Are there really significantly fewer competitors now than say 10 years ago? If so, in what sectors? We certainly have a lot of grocery store companies, chains (Publix, Kroger, Walmart are very active here, and there are smaller chains like Piggly Wiggly and H-Mart) as well as independent large (Your DeKalb Farmers' Market in Decatur for example) and small grocery stores (e.g. David's Produce on LaVista for vegetables or Spotted Trotter on Moreland for meat or Kathleen's Catch on Clairmont (and two other locations) for fish). And yet, groceries exhibit a great deal of inflation. There are also a number of car companies, domestic as well as foreign, but cars have become expensive as fuck. So we know that lack of competition can't be the only, or even dominant reason for the level of inflation we are seeing. Fiscal and monetary policies, as well as shocks like COVID and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, remain the primary drivers of inflation as far as I can see. And in sectors with little competition, proper government policy would be to reduce any artificial barriers to entry for competitors. Note that often, barriers to entry are not artificial. It takes a lot of capital to create a car company (which is why Tesla was such a big deal), or to build a refinery. But government could make it easier by removing onerous regulation that make things more difficult than necessary. What does Katie Porter suggest we do to address competition? This ditectly addresses your questions. And by the way... The Kroger Co. Family of Stores includes: • Baker’s • City Market • Dillons • Food 4 Less • Foods Co • Fred Meyer • Fry’s • Gerbes • Jay C Food Store • King Soopers • Kroger • Mariano’s • Metro Market • Pay-Less Super Markets • Pick’n Save • QFC • Ralphs • Ruler • Smith’s Food and Drug Fun fact: One of my "pandemic" jobs was working for this fine company (heavy sarcasm) at a Fry's store in Tempe, Arizona. After decades in a cushy, well paying job, it was an eye opening experience. I understand why younger people are finding socialism appealing. I was lucky in that I had a house and money in savings. Kroger does not pay you enough to live. They even had a "maximum wage" for cashiers. If you asked one what they thought of a$15 minimum wage they'd probably say "I won't hold my breath." One particular bit of shitfuckery they did was to keep you from qualifying as full time so you could get benefits. You had to work 40 hours a week for a certain number of subsequent weeks, and then you'd be considered full time. Magically, the last week your hours would be cut, and you'd have to start all over again. And of course, your schedule changed weekly, and you'd find out what days you were working late Saturday or early Sunday, so good luck trying to square that with that second job you need to survive.

Around a year ago (long after I'd left) I was talking to someone I'd worked with, and she noted that the store was down 60 employees. They just couldn't keep people due to folks collectively realizing that they didn't have to accept shit wages anymore. To this day there's signs plastered on every wall and door saying "we're hiring!!!"

Folks, if you shop at one of the above-listed stores, be kind to the employees. They are getting royally fucked.

laughing dog

Contributor
Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets.
Are there really significantly fewer competitors now than say 10 years ago? If so, in what sectors? We certainly have a lot of grocery store companies, chains (Publix, Kroger, Walmart are very active here, and there are smaller chains like Piggly Wiggly and H-Mart) as well as independent large (Your DeKalb Farmers' Market in Decatur for example) and small grocery stores (e.g. David's Produce on LaVista for vegetables or Spotted Trotter on Moreland for meat or Kathleen's Catch on Clairmont (and two other locations) for fish). And yet, groceries exhibit a great deal of inflation.

Food prices are susceptible to a number of inflationary pressures from a variety of sources - fuel, labor, nutrients, etcc… Exacerbating those is the increasing concentration at the wholesale level. There are fewer meat packet and processors, along with fewer producers of processed foods.

Increasing concentration is due to a variety of factors, one of which is less vigilant anti- trust enforcement.

TV and credit cards

Veteran Member
Big business was not necessarily less greedy but it was less concentrated. In many sectors, there are significantly fewer domestic competitors and less competition tends to give business more freedom with pricing. I suspect the effects of supply chain problems along with expansionary policy were exacerbated by less domestic competition in the US markets.
Are there really significantly fewer competitors now than say 10 years ago? If so, in what sectors? We certainly have a lot of grocery store companies, chains (Publix, Kroger, Walmart are very active here, and there are smaller chains like Piggly Wiggly and H-Mart) as well as independent large (Your DeKalb Farmers' Market in Decatur for example) and small grocery stores (e.g. David's Produce on LaVista for vegetables or Spotted Trotter on Moreland for meat or Kathleen's Catch on Clairmont (and two other locations) for fish). And yet, groceries exhibit a great deal of inflation. There are also a number of car companies, domestic as well as foreign, but cars have become expensive as fuck. So we know that lack of competition can't be the only, or even dominant reason for the level of inflation we are seeing. Fiscal and monetary policies, as well as shocks like COVID and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, remain the primary drivers of inflation as far as I can see.

And in sectors with little competition, proper government policy would be to reduce any artificial barriers to entry for competitors. Note that often, barriers to entry are not artificial. It takes a lot of capital to create a car company (which is why Tesla was such a big deal), or to build a refinery. But government could make it easier by removing onerous regulation that make things more difficult than necessary. What does Katie Porter suggest we do to address competition?
This ditectly addresses your questions.

And by the way...
The Kroger Co. Family of Stores includes:

• Baker’s
• City Market
• Dillons
• Food 4 Less
• Foods Co
• Fred Meyer
• Fry’s
• Gerbes
• Jay C Food Store
• King Soopers
• Kroger
• Mariano’s
• Metro Market
• Pay-Less Super Markets
• Pick’n Save
• QFC
• Ralphs
• Ruler
• Smith’s Food and Drug

And they’re fixing to gobble up Albertson’s.

Harry Bosch

Contributor
Russia cutoff Europe from oil and natural gas. US retaliated by embargoing Russian products, monetary access, oil, and gas in defense of both Ukraine and European Union. As a result shortages increased to levels above what they were during Covid crisis.
That certainly plays a role. As does COVID spending, some of which was unnecessary or kept on for too long. As did the monetary policies of very low interest rates for most of the time since 2008 recession.
The thing is, after all this COVID spending Biden administration wanted to spend additional $3.5T in profligate spending as well as$400G on student loan forgiveness (those who took out their loans before 2010 need not apply btw.) That too is inflationary, and given the spending necessitated by COVID it was irresponsible to push it.
By so doing American consumers blamed party in power rather than bad actor Russia. Fairweather patriot Republicans are now profiting from our courageous actions by blaming government rather than Russia for inflation.
Russia should be blamed for their actions in Ukraine. And yes, the invasion did exacerbate matters. That does not mean that fiscal policies of US (and other western governments) are blameless for the inflation they are experiencing.

Wod. Republicans will probably gain because they are fair weather patriots profiting from strong government responses to bad actor.
Republicans will probably gain because president's party usually loses in the midterms, esp. if the president has low approval ratings.
Most economists that I've read believe that the extra Biden spending is contributing about 2 to 3% of the inflation hitting us today. No bueno. However, what bothers me is that dems are taking all the blame. There is an incredible amount of stimulus in the economy that republicans started: massive tax cuts, PPP, massive government spending under Trump, and etc. I for one am willing to give both sides a pass because covid caused massive uncertainties; and at the least, the spending stopped deflation dead in its tracks. Inflation is far better than deflation. Yea, inflation is causing stress. But at least we all have jobs. In deflationary times, products may be 2% cheaper, but no one has a job.

lpetrich

Contributor
One of Katie Porter's friends in Congress:
Rep. AOC Exposes Price Gouging underlying 'Inflation' - YouTube in a Congressional hearing on April 6

AOC first mentioned people being squeezed by lower wages and higher prices. Then got into corporate consolidation.

Like four meat-processing companies accounting for 53% of all US meat processing. Cargill, JBS, Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield.

The four largest retailers have 35% of the market share. WalMart and Amazon are 2/3 of this or 1/4 of the total (WM 14%, Am 10%).

She then discussed the effects of oligopoly on markets: a big departure from the ideal of perfect competition.

Then about the effect of WalMart Supercenters on employment. One can find that out by comparing where they are approved to where they are not approved. Wages go down by 5.2%, employment by 2.9%, and participation by 1.4%.

Lack of competition is costly to workers, reducing their wages by 15% - 25%.

She sums up by noting that oligopoly of product making raises prices and oligopsony of employment lowers wages, squeezing many Americans in both directions.

She then notes that many of these industries do not exactly have optional participation: food, energy, transport, communication, retail.

Then an odd result: no correlation of wage inflation and price inflation by industry. One of the witnesses then noted that some industries, like pharmaceutical ones, car-rental ones, and large online companies like Google and Facebook for their advertising, don't take labor costs into account in their pricing.

AOC then mentioned 80% of soybean processes and 73% of beef processors being only four companies.

Then antitrust and labor unions. It's more difficult to organize labor unions in large companies like Amazon and Starbucks because of their union busting, and penalties are not strong enough. Mergers are an anti-union technique.

lpetrich

Contributor
May be the OP's one again:

Katie Porter Lists Steps She Thinks America Should Take To Reduce Inflation - YouTube from March 30

She calls increasing interest rates and lowering wages "misguided" and says that what people need is lower costs, not lower wages.

She suggests ways of increasing supply like more green energy, increasing domestic manufacturing, let Medicare negotiate drug prices, and stop Big-Oil price gouging.

'This is a market that really needs regulation': Rep. Katie Porter | ABCNL - YouTube
Oil companies are announcing record profits -- and financing their profits with price increases.

Rep. KP mentioned "monopolies", or more precisely, oligopolies, in foodstuffs like bread and pasta.

Staff member

ZiprHead

Loony Running The Asylum
Staff member

Did anybody hear an actual answer there?

Loren Pechtel

Super Moderator
Staff member

Did anybody hear an actual answer there?

Elect Republicans. They're always the answer!

Staff member

Derec

Contributor
Oil price per barrel are currently $86, while gas prices are close to$4 a gallon. In 2010, oil was slightly over $85 a barrel, while gas was under$3.
While price per barrel remains the same, Oil companies have jacked up prices over 30%
It’s not Biden, it’s the Oil companies.
Whoever wrote this simplistic tweet is apparently unaware that the oil price is just one of many costs that go into the price of the gallon of refined gasoline. You have transport costs, refining cost, gas station cost. And all those costs will not going be the same in 2022 as they were in 2010.

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Derec

Contributor
Unless you are accusing the Alternet of altering the text of the transcript to fit, I think your objection here is silly.
I am not accusing anybody. I am pointing to a blatant double standard when it comes to sources here. If Daily Fail is frowned upon, then so should the likes of DailyKos and Alternet.
And also, why link to an extreme left blog if it's just a "exchange of a US House Committee meeting". Should be easy to find a reputable source to link to then.

This isn't difficult.
Of course it isn't. Few simplistic analyses are.

That raises the question: why have corporations become so greedy all of a sudden, if inflation has all to do with their greed and nothing with monetary and fiscal policies?
Please also note that it is perfectly okay for companies to not INCREASE their profits, and instead have no increases in profits or have mild decreases in profits and still remain profitable.
If you ran a corporation and could increase its profitability, would you not be derelict in your duties if you didn't?

America's status as an economic and intellectual powerhouse comes from the strength of its middle class.
Which is not in dispute here. We can talk about compensation for various jobs and particularly about corporate executives, but this thread is about causes of inflation.
What is in dispute is how some people want to pretend that monetary and fiscal policies have nothing to do with inflation.

What I'm saying is just because the baseline since 1979 has been 11.4% doesn't mean that it is the only healthy number. 0% could be just as good or better if that means that employees are getting a bigger slice of the pie.
0% what? 0% corporate profits?

Derec

Contributor
So, Alternet publishes leftish stories? Give yourself a Big Brownie Point for knowing that.
They are extremely biased. Not any better source than Daily Fail and a much worse source than Fox News. And both of those get routinely maligned when somebody links to them. So why should Alternet be given a pass?
More important is: Are their stories — or rather this story in particular — factually correct? If you think not, post some examples of their falsities.
I do not have time to do that, of course. I barely have time to keep up with discussions here. But it is a very biased source nevertheless.

Do not confuse the right with the left
Pox on both their houses! But thanks for admitting that you are fine with left-wing sources but not with right-wing ones. That's the kind of double standard I am talking about.

Find a factual flaw in the story, or retract your nasty non sequitur, please.
I shall not! Even if this particular story is true, it could have been sourced from a reliable source, not an extreme blog.

I guess you couldn't bring yourself to actually read the cites provided. It was because of the various repricings already underway due to Covid disruptions that big corporations had the opportunity for repricings, pretending them due to rising costs but in fact acting on their "fiduciary responsibility" to maximize shareholder value.

So you are still sticking with the fairy tale that inflation had nothing whatsoever to do with monetary and fiscal policies?

Elsewhere in the thread, you seem to deny the enormous monopoly or oligopoly power that many of today's corporations have. That's too HUGE an ignorance to fight in this thread. Start a new thread for that.
I gave examples of solid competition in industries that have seen large price increases, such as grocery stores and auto manufacturers.
I am not denying there is little competition in some industries, but I do not see that as a big driver of present inflation.

Derec

Contributor
That seems very much to be an argument from incredulity.
It is not.

Derec

Contributor
The Kroger Co. Family of Stores includes:
I have not seen any of the stores listed here. Presumably they are regional store chains, many of them small, and in different regions so they would not be necessarily competing against each other even if they were not all owned by the same corporation.
I know Ralph's is in the West for example. Fry's that we used to have here was an unrelated electronics store, not a grocery store.

As I said, around here we have Publix, Kroger as two major grocery store chains. You also have Walmart selling a lot of groceries, including in their grocery-only neighborhood stores. Then you have smaller chains: Aldi, Lidl, Trader Joe (owned by Aldi, but serve different market segments), Whole Foods, H-Mart, Nam Dae Mun. You have independent stores YDFM and a plethora of smaller, often specialized stores like Spotted Trotter, David's Produce, Kathleen's Catch.

There is no lack in choice when it comes to grocery stores. Even if Kroger owns a lot.

Derec

Contributor
What is causing this inflation is clearly global, and the thing that makes such global inflation happen is an increasing cost of energy.
Few things are monocausal. Inflation is not monocausal. To ignore the role fiscal and monetary policy have played would be foolish.

It is not something Biden could possibly be causing. It is rather something RUSSIA is causing.
Russia, or rather the West's (quite justified) response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has been part of the causation only relatively recently. It really started in 2020. Pandemic happened, oil demand disappeared, oil price crashed. Oil futures even went negative briefly because the world was running out of storage for all the oil that was getting pumped but not burned. So oil projects get put on hold, oil workers get laid off, and when the demand picks up, you have too little supply and prices shoot up.

But again, that is not the whole picture.
The monetary policy: interest rates should have been increased much sooner.

zorq

Veteran Member
Unless you are accusing the Alternet of altering the text of the transcript to fit, I think your objection here is silly.
I am not accusing anybody. I am pointing to a blatant double standard when it comes to sources here. If Daily Fail is frowned upon, then so should the likes of DailyKos and Alternet.
And also, why link to an extreme left blog if it's just a "exchange of a US House Committee meeting". Should be easy to find a reputable source to link to then.
Here are the links to the last two times Daily Mail was linked by users of this board.
1.Moment transgender singer strips NAKED live on Channel 4 and plays the keyboard with her PENIS
2.Popstar wannabe eco-zealot compares herself to a PRISONER OF WAR after football fans pelted her with drinks when she stormed pitch during Spurs v West Ham clash

Do you notice a little bit of yellow journalism and cherrypicking going on in those links? Because I sure do. Contrast that with the alternet link,
This isn't difficult.
Of course it isn't. Few simplistic analyses are.

No, what isn't difficult is to actually LOOK at the chart Katie Porter is holding. You know the one this thread happens to be about?

That raises the question: why have corporations become so greedy all of a sudden, if inflation has all to do with their greed and nothing with monetary and fiscal policies?
"All of a sudden?" Hey guys, this dude is wondering when corporations became greedy! LOL.

No. THIS inflation has a lot to do with corporate greed, but that doesn't imply that all inflation is only corporate greed. Most of the time corportations can get away with shit like this, but supply chain disruptions from stuff like Brexit, Trump's little trade war with China, and a little thing called COVID 19 gave corporations the cover to raise prices.
Please also note that it is perfectly okay for companies to not INCREASE their profits, and instead have no increases in profits or have mild decreases in profits and still remain profitable.
If you ran a corporation and could increase its profitability, would you not be derelict in your duties if you didn't?
Sure, but that doesn't mean that it isn't one of the flaws of a capitalist economic system. News flash, Capitalism doesn't maximize prosperity. It doesn't even maximize prodcutivity or efficiency when there isn't sufficient competition.

America's status as an economic and intellectual powerhouse comes from the strength of its middle class.
Which is not in dispute here. We can talk about compensation for various jobs and particularly about corporate executives, but this thread is about causes of inflation.
What is in dispute is how some people want to pretend that monetary and fiscal policies have nothing to do with inflation.
Who said that? Who the fuck said that? Show me the person who said monetary and fiscal policies have nothing to do with inflation.

What I'm saying is just because the baseline since 1979 has been 11.4% doesn't mean that it is the only healthy number. 0% could be just as good or better if that means that employees are getting a bigger slice of the pie.
0% what? 0% corporate profits?

Did you even look at the chart? Like at all? Do you even know what we're talking about?

Derec

Contributor
Most economists that I've read believe that the extra Biden spending is contributing about 2 to 3% of the inflation hitting us today. No bueno. However, what bothers me is that dems are taking all the blame. There is an incredible amount of stimulus in the economy that republicans started: massive tax cuts, PPP, massive government spending under Trump, and etc.

I do not mind that a lot of money was spend as a response to the Pandemic. Much of that was necessary. Much of it was designed or implemented poorly, but haste makes waste. So far so good. Biden took over in January 2021. He let these Pandemic spending programs - such as expanded unemployment which only ended in September 2021! - ride much longer than necessary. And he wanted to add $3.5T in extra spending that was completely unnecessary. So I can see why Biden and Dems get most of the blame. Especially when in the years before the Pandemic when AOC started proposing her$60-100T "Green New Deal" the "Modern Monetary Theory" became fashionable stating that government could just print more money to pay for it and for other fauxgressive pet projects.

I for one am willing to give both sides a pass because covid caused massive uncertainties; and at the least, the spending stopped deflation dead in its tracks.
I am willing to give both sides a pass for the initial COVID response. After all that spending was bipartisan.
However, when economy reopened in 2021 there was no need for that level of stimulus and nevertheless it was kept up. That was a mistake. As was proposing and pushing for trillions in new spending.

Monetary policy plays a role too. Interest rates were kept low too long. Why? This article says the desire to reduce unemployment gap between blacks and whites by keeping unemployment very low is partly to blame.
How DEI Made Inflation Worse
Even if you disagree with this analysis as to why, it is a fact that Fed started raising interest rates quite late in the game.
Inflation is far better than deflation. Yea, inflation is causing stress. But at least we all have jobs. In deflationary times, products may be 2% cheaper, but no one has a job.
Some inflation indeed is. That's why Fed target is not 0% but ~2%.

Derec

Contributor
One of Katie Porter's friends in Congress:
Rep. AOC Exposes Price Gouging underlying 'Inflation' - YouTube in a Congressional hearing on April 6
Same politician who thinks spending $60-100T on her "green new deal" would be hunky-dory. Like four meat-processing companies accounting for 53% of all US meat processing. Cargill, JBS, Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield. Four is still a good deal of competition and together they only control a bit over half of the market. The four largest retailers have 35% of the market share. WalMart and Amazon are 2/3 of this or 1/4 of the total (WM 14%, Am 10%). Which still means that there is bunch of competition in retail. Then about the effect of WalMart Supercenters on employment. One can find that out by comparing where they are approved to where they are not approved. Wages go down by 5.2%, employment by 2.9%, and participation by 1.4%. Lack of competition is costly to workers, reducing their wages by 15% - 25%. We have a few WM supercenters around here, but no lack of competition. Where does she get those numbers from I wonder ... And what is her solution? Government banning certain stores? Then antitrust and labor unions. It's more difficult to organize labor unions in large companies like Amazon and Starbucks because of their union busting, and penalties are not strong enough. Mergers are an anti-union technique. But aren't unions a monopoly of sorts? But a monopoly imposed on the employers? And while having higher wages sounds good, higher wages also means higher prices. And if wages are pushed too high by unions that are too aggressive (or what would be called "greedy" if they were corporations) then there is always danger that employment will be reduced - through automation, outsourcing or a combination of both: Freshii introduces ‘Percy’ virtual cashier, outsourcing jobs to Central America I imagine more of stuff like this especially where politicians think fast food companies should be forced to pay >$20/h.
Btw, I do not know why they missed the opportunity to spell "Percy" as "Percii" ...

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Derec

Contributor
She calls increasing interest rates and lowering wages "misguided" and says that what people need is lower costs, not lower wages.
What she does not mention is wanton federal spending. That's what's misguided, not tightening monetary policy.

She suggests ways of increasing supply like more green energy, increasing domestic manufacturing, let Medicare negotiate drug prices, and stop Big-Oil price gouging.
Sigh. Some of these may be good ideas, but will not, in themselves, reduce inflation by much. Also, she does not seem to be in favor of increasing supply of oil and gas.

Derec

Contributor
Here are the links to the last two times Daily Mail was linked by users of this board.
Were either of those two stories made up?

Do you notice a little bit of yellow journalism and cherrypicking going on in those links?
Cherrypicking? They are reporting on particular stories presumably of interest to their readers. I am not a Daily Mail reader, but I went to their homepage just now and found this human interest story about an area septuagenarian:
Moment President Biden, 76, drives more than a HUNDRED miles per hour while drag racing against Colin Powell's son on episode of Jay Leno's car-centric TV show
Might want to check out that episode.

No, what isn't difficult is to actually LOOK at the chart Katie Porter is holding. You know the one this thread happens to be about?
Prop comics aren't my thing.
I know she likes to blame "corporate greed" for everything and dismiss the two major drivers of inflation: monetary policy and fiscal policy. She thinks raising interest rates is "misguided" and she of course supports spending additional $3.5T on things like more subsidies for parents and tax cuts for blue state rich. "All of a sudden?" Hey guys, this dude is wondering when corporations became greedy! LOL. That's exactly my point! Corporations would not be getting much more greedy all of a sudden. So why is inflation bad now and not 5 years ago, or 10. No. THIS inflation has a lot to do with corporate greed, but that doesn't imply that all inflation is only corporate greed. Most of the time corportations can get away with shit like this, but supply chain disruptions from stuff like Brexit, Trump's little trade war with China, and a little thing called COVID 19 gave corporations the cover to raise prices. Not to mention overly expansionary monetary policy and high level of government spending (some needed due to COVID19, some not). So we agree that higher corporate profits are an effect of all these other things, not a cause of anything? You are starting to get it, perhaps. Sure, but that doesn't mean that it isn't one of the flaws of a capitalist economic system. News flash, Capitalism doesn't maximize prosperity. It doesn't even maximize prodcutivity or efficiency when there isn't sufficient competition. Just like democracy, it is the worst economic system except for all the other ones that have been tried. The fact is that for all its flaws capitalism brought a lot of prosperity to the world. It is the profit motive in capitalism that led various tinkerers to play with steam engines and improve them, stick them on wheels etc. and thus ushered the Industrial Revolution. And look at what happened in Actually Existing Socialism. No profit motive and a great deal of stasis. Compare two initially very similar societies - West and East Germanies. Who said that? Who the fuck said that? Show me the person who said monetary and fiscal policies have nothing to do with inflation. Katie Porter tacitly does that when she claims increasing interest rates is "misguided" and when she continues to support wanton federal spending. Did you even look at the chart? Like at all? Do you even know what we're talking about? Again, not a big fan of prop comics. If there is an actually useful chart, link to it or embed it here with IMG tags like a normal person. I don't want to watch a Youtube video of her holding an oversized chart like a prop. laughing dog Contributor Exacerbating those is the increasing concentration at the wholesale level. There are fewer meat packet and processors, along with fewer producers of processed foods. Increasing concentration is due to a variety of factors, one of which is less vigilant anti- trust enforcement. I would definitely not be opposed to more vigorous anti-trust enforcement where appropriate. However, that does not change the fact that monetary and fiscal policies have been the major drivers of this inflation. It is not a fact that monetary and fiscal policies are the major drivers of this inflation. Inflation is up around the world. IUS monetary and fiscal policy is not the major driver of world inflation. It is a factor in this inflation in the US but it is not the major driver. If it were, this inflation would have started much sooner. To dismiss that, just because you want federal government to spend even more on expensive federal programs is foolish. Who is the "you" are refer to? It is certainly not me. Harry Bosch Contributor Most economists that I've read believe that the extra Biden spending is contributing about 2 to 3% of the inflation hitting us today. No bueno. However, what bothers me is that dems are taking all the blame. There is an incredible amount of stimulus in the economy that republicans started: massive tax cuts, PPP, massive government spending under Trump, and etc. I do not mind that a lot of money was spend as a response to the Pandemic. Much of that was necessary. Much of it was designed or implemented poorly, but haste makes waste. So far so good. Biden took over in January 2021. He let these Pandemic spending programs - such as expanded unemployment which only ended in September 2021! - ride much longer than necessary. And he wanted to add$3.5T in extra spending that was completely unnecessary.
So I can see why Biden and Dems get most of the blame. Especially when in the years before the Pandemic when AOC started proposing her \$60-100T "Green New Deal" the "Modern Monetary Theory" became fashionable stating that government could just print more money to pay for it and for other fauxgressive pet projects.

I for one am willing to give both sides a pass because covid caused massive uncertainties; and at the least, the spending stopped deflation dead in its tracks.
I am willing to give both sides a pass for the initial COVID response. After all that spending was bipartisan.
However, when economy reopened in 2021 there was no need for that level of stimulus and nevertheless it was kept up. That was a mistake. As was proposing and pushing for trillions in new spending.

Monetary policy plays a role too. Interest rates were kept low too long. Why? This article says the desire to reduce unemployment gap between blacks and whites by keeping unemployment very low is partly to blame.
How DEI Made Inflation Worse
Even if you disagree with this analysis as to why, it is a fact that Fed started raising interest rates quite late in the game.
Inflation is far better than deflation. Yea, inflation is causing stress. But at least we all have jobs. In deflationary times, products may be 2% cheaper, but no one has a job.
Some inflation indeed is. That's why Fed target is not 0% but ~2%.
I couldn't find your source on the National Reivew. And NR is very right wing. Not a source that I would trust. Yea, I already agreed that Biden overshoot a little on the stimulus. Interest rates were too slow to rise. But business people hate rising interest rates. Higher interest rates kills investment. Higher interest rates decrease ROE on projects, stopping them. I look at it every day. Hence the reason why higher interest rates affect inflation. Biden has a plan, and we're seeing some progress that inflation is starting to peak.

What is the republican plan? How in the world will lower taxes, higher deficit, and investigating Hunter stop inflation?