For the first four months of this year, the seasonally-adjusted consumer-price index is rising at an annualized rate of 6.2%. Without the seasonal adjustments, it is rising at 7.8%.
“The consumer-price index rose at a remarkable 4.2%,” says your editorial, “Powell Gets His Inflation Wish” (May 13). Remarkable, yes, but our current inflation problem is far worse than that 4.2%, which is bad enough. The real issue is what is happening in 2021. We need to realize that for the first four months of this year, the seasonally-adjusted consumer-price index is rising at an annual rate of 6.2%. Without the seasonal adjustments, it is rising at 7.8%. Meanwhile, house prices are inflating at 12%.
We are paying the inevitable price for the Federal Reserve’s monetization of government debt and mortgages. As for whether this is “transitory,” we may paraphrase J.M. Keynes: In the long run, everything is transitory. But now it is high time for the Fed to begin reducing its debt purchases, and to stop buying mortgages.
Alex J. Pollock
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Appeared in the June 1, 2021, print edition.