Published January 12, 2022
Data released on Wednesday show that inflation for December rose 7 percent, the highest rate since 1982. The bad news is that this is likely to continue for some time. The good news is that at least some experts are finally grasping why inflation is so high: excessive pandemic relief spending.
Prices have spiked over the past year in virtually every major category of consumer spending. News reports have focused on large items such as gasoline (up 50 percent) and used vehicles (up 38 percent).
But the recent price report shows inflation is pervasive: Food is up 6.3 percent, topped by a 12.5 percent hike in meat and poultry prices. Furniture and bedding is up 13.8 percent while clothing has increased by 5.8 percent. Going on vacation? The price of hotels and motels is up 27.6 percent and rental cars are up 36 percent. Moving? That rental van will be 9.2 percent more expensive than a year ago. Staying home? It costs 6.3 percent more to turn on your lights than it did a year ago. Prices are rising fast no matter what you do.
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Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.