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Latest Issue

An Inflation Conversation

May 17, 2024

Sometimes two seemingly opposite things can be true at the same time. Right now, we can correctly say inflation is both a) better than it was and b) higher than it should be.

But those are still economic generalities. They don’t necessarily describe your unique part of the economy.

The fact inflation is so highly individualized—a big problem for some, a non-event or even beneficial for others—greatly complicates the discussion. But in the long-term macro picture, inflation is bad for pretty much everyone… which is why policymakers need to keep it under control.

We tried to unravel this tangled web (along with others) at the Strategic Investment Conference. Many different speakers and panels discussed inflation from various angles. In fact, it was hard not to discuss inflation. You really can’t understand the economic outlook otherwise. The final panel mentioned inflation 29 times. You can look at the transcripts and sense how important inflation is when discussing the economy.

In today’s letter I’ll share a few of those interesting conversations, then talk a little about the newest inflation data.

Boom Times

As I continuously say, inflation is never “good.” Even a low inflation rate will slowly but surely devalue your savings and raise the price of essential goods and services. Even 1% inflation means that you would lose 75%+ of your (pick a currency) buying power over a lifetime.

In the short term, however, inflation can definitely feel good, at least if you are on...

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