October 18, 2021

Inflation is all over the place. On top of that, you may have noticed some empty shelves in your local stores. My wife called me the other day and said she could hardly get anything at the grocery store.

Well, as you may know, the first rule of panicking is you should panic before everyone else panics.

Seriously though, we’re experiencing inflation for the first time in a while. On top of that, we’re also experiencing scarcity. Now, the only time in my life that I recall experiencing scarcity was with the gasoline crisis in the 1970s because of the oil embargo.

For all the good we Americans do, we aren’t good at rationing scarce resources. It’s every person for themselves.

And now, supply and demand supply are shrinking for many reasons. A prominent one is the shrinking labor supply. There aren’t enough people to transport, stock, and put items on shelves.

People are staying home because the government made it worth their while. But even after the enhanced unemployment benefits were taken away, many people decided they like staying home.

So, we’re seeing prices increase, especially on food. The average price of beef nationwide at the end of August was $4.47 per pound, a nearly 7% increase over the prior year. Unless you got a 7% raise, your burger now costs more, if you can even find ground beef at the store.

When people haven’t experienced anything like this before, they get antsy and start hoarding. If it continues, politicians will hear the wrath and likely act in ways that make things worse.

When inflation skyrockets, logic says to buy more and buy faster before prices go up. But it can be misdirected. Remember the toilet paper wars last year? Mob behavior is frightening.