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Comfy Chair: Inflation nation

By Joel Vernier

I was enjoying a nice mid-morning nap in my “Comfy Chair,” I was jolted awake when I remembered that I needed to go to town to fill up my car. Finally, fully awake, I petted the dogs, stood up, and headed to the kitchen for a snack. As I enjoyed a crisp apple, my wife yelled, “Joel, grab the shopping list and pick stuff up when you go to town!” “On it!” I replied.

I jumped into my 2018 ford, and it struck me that it was 4 years old. When I was a kid, a 4-year-old car with 60,000 miles on it often had many problems. With proper maintenance, cars today can rack up many miles. My 2010 Focus, still being driven in the family, has over 240,000 miles and still rolling. It’s a good thing because inflation on new cars is formidable. Since 2019 the average price has jumped over $10,000, according to Car & Driver. With 10% down, it is like having another house payment.

I pulled into the gas station, and the sign showed regular gas had jumped to $5.18 a gallon. I have a 12-gallon tank at a little over a quarter. I began fueling and noticed the numbers were spinning faster than if you had just plugged in a Tesla. When the pumping clicked off, it was $40. It used to cost $19 to fill up. I looked over at the next pump pick-up truck, which was $95 in fuel costs. I fill up both cars once a week.

That means we will have to cut back, maybe going out to eat lunch, put off discretionary spending like a movie, or a nice long drive. I went into the grocery store and headed to the meat market. I know I have a list, but I left it as I usually do in the car.

One of my favorite purchases is a whole tenderloin; I cut it up at home into 1 ½-inch steaks. It typically costs around $80. I looked at the price, and it had jumped to $180! I would buy one twice a year, but now I’m not buying one once a year. I know Bill Gates is perfecting growing a steak in a petri dish.

Totally synthetic meats do not sound appetizing to me. Hamburger it is but wait, it’s up to $5 a pound. Okay, one pound should do it. Inflation is at 8.6%, which is a lot. I went to the Bacon display, and any name you might know was 0ver $10.00 a pound. USDA predicts pork will increase by 6-7% and other meats by 9-10% increases.

I appreciate the Social Security increase in January, but it is being overshadowed by the rampant Inflation. What is Inflation regarding money? Many countries, including ours, abandoned money backed by gold a few years back.

It was replaced by the Fiat money, backed by the reputation, record, and goodwill of the United States. When it was backed by gold, you could only print enough money based on how much gold you had. Fiat money which is not backed by gold, you can print as much as you want. The problem is that the more you print, the more diluted the dollar is. For example, if you put a drink mix designed for a 12 oz bottle, it tastes great, but if you put it in a 50-gallon bucket, you may not taste it. The more money you print and put into circulation, the diluted value continues to drop. The purchasing power of your dollar goes down.

How do retired people on a fixed income deal with Inflation? The disabled? Lower-income? Middle Class, if there are any left? For many, it will be to adjust their lifestyle.

I remember my grandparents were very frugal; nothing went to waste. They lived through The Great Depression! I guess it’s our turn unless something good happens soon. Inflation Nation is here! At least naps, hopefully, will not cost more!

“Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others. – © Joel M. Vernier 06/12/2022 Author of: “The Guinea Pig In The Freezer.” joelmvernier@aol.com

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