Inflation Rate Rises 0.02% in January, Wall Street Panics

My goal in life isn’t to deny forever that inflation is low and under control. But every time I try to get out, the Wall Street Journal pulls me back in:

Inflation Starts to Make a Comeback

A closely watched gauge of U.S. consumer prices offered fresh evidence that a long run of very low inflation is ending….A month-over-month measure of what households pay for everything except gasoline and food rose a seasonally adjusted 0.349% in January—the strongest one-month increase since March 2005….Though it signals a strengthening economy, price pressures are getting investors nervous.

They are literally pointing at one month’s worth of data to claim that inflation is coming to get us. Here’s the more normal annual inflation rate:

In January, CPI was flat and core CPI (excluding food and energy) was up by a tenth of a point. You can certainly make a case that CPI has rebounded from its unusually low rate in 2015 (which was mostly due to falling energy prices), but then you also have to acknowledge that core CPI has been on a downward trend for the entire past year.

If an inflation rate of 2.13 percent—up from 2.11 percent in December!—is spooking investors, we’re in big trouble. 2.13 percent!

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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