Death at the Margin

Death at the Margin

Today, let’s turn to the question we left you with the other day: How many people will die because of the Fed’s efforts to ‘save lives’ during the COVID Panic?

Trigger warning: we are coming dangerously close to earnest indignation.

In 2020, much of the economy was shut down, and trillions in fake money (newly created by the Fed…neither earned nor saved) was distributed to offset the lost output. We’re paying part of the tab now. GDP is going backward. Real wages are falling. And consumer prices are rising.

On that front, we got news last week that inflation was slowing down and speeding up at the same time. Last month, the official inflation rate (CPI) declined by 0.35%…from 8.54% to 8.26%.

The very next day came the PPI, producer price index, telling us that coming our way is a 15.6% increase. This is the second highest reading since we were born (1948).

Counting the (real) cost

It gets worse. On MSNBC Friday morning was an economist (whose name we missed) arguing that the core prices for families are up 19%.

Food, shelter, transportation — those are the ones that drain the family checking account. As for food, actual price increases are far above the BLS’s Index. Beef is up 14%, chicken 15%, wheat flour 33%, orange juice 17%, coffee 70%.

Shelter, too, is much pricier than the BLS says. Zillow computes the average rent people actually pay: it’s up 17% over a year ago, it says. The average price paid to buy a house is also 16% higher than a year ago.

And fuel? A gallon of gas averaged US$3.11 last May. Now, it’s up 40%. Inquirer/Business:

WASHINGTON—US gas prices reached a record high Tuesday, as President Joe Biden said fighting inflation is his top domestic priority.

The average price at the pump hit $4.37 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), surpassing the last record of $4.33 set on March 11.

But wait…there’s more! A lot more. Inflation is not just a matter of money.

‘Everything happens at the margin’, say economists. And at the margin, people die.

Most of us have a substantial margin of error. If beef is too expensive, we can switch to chicken. If fuel goes up in price, we can stop making unnecessary drives…ride a bicycle…and turn the thermostat down.

Millions doomed?

But what about people who live on US$10,000…or US$1,000? The World Health Organisation says that 6.2 million people have died from COVID over the last two years. (Probably overcounted in some areas and undercounted in others.)

But there are said to be some nine million who die each year from hunger-related problems. And now, thanks largely to the money printing, phony interest rates, stimulus programs, shutdowns, and social distancing…the price of food is rising worldwide. From WSWS.org:

The FAO Food Price Index (FFPI), which measures change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, reported in September that prices were 32.8 percent higher than they had been a year prior. The prices of the most basic staples rose even more sharply; wheat was up 41 percent and maize 38 percent from September 2020.

The numbers are all over the place. But the UN reports that the number of people facing a ‘critical’ lack of food has grown by 60 million over the last two years…and now nearly 200 million are thought to be in danger.

WSWS.org continues:

Every day more than seven hundred million people, 8.8 percent of the world’s population, go to bed on an empty stomach, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Hunger and malnutrition mean shortened life expectancies, stunted mental development, the premature death of loved ones; it means widows and orphans and childless parents.

What is the real cost…the final tab…for the Fed’s ‘heavy touch’ failures? Did the feds save a few old, plump people by sacrificing young, skinny ones?

Did they save no one…and doom millions?

More tomorrow…including another visit to the Incompetents Hall of Fame.

Stay tuned…

Regards,

Dan Denning Signature

Bill Bonner,
For The Daily Reckoning Australia