Economic Hysteria

This from the WSJ:

Meanwhile the most recent government data shows food inflation for the average American household is now running at 4.5% a year.

And some prices are rising even more quickly. The latest data show cereal prices rising by more than 8% a year. Both flour and rice are up more than 13%. Milk, cheese, bananas and even peanut butter: They're all up by more than 10%. Eggs have rocketed up 30% in a year. Ground beef prices are up 4.8% and chicken by 5.4%. . . .

OK, if some prices are rising faster than the average, guess what: others must be rising more slowly. Is it a surprise that not all prices rise by exactly the average? Would the tenor of the piece have been different if it read: "And some prices are rising more slowly."

"maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food."

Is that an article in the WSJ?

And if you are hoping [food price increases] will pass, here's the bad news: They may actually accelerate.

Well, that is helpful. The price increases may decelerate. Finally there is a reasonable point:

The main reason for rising prices, of course, is the surge in demand from China and India. Hundreds of millions of people are joining the middle class each year, and that means they want to eat more and better food.

A secondary reason has been the growing demand for ethanol as a fuel additive. That's soaking up some of the corn supply.

Alternatively, take the focus in other coverage on Microsoft's 11 percent drop in profits. Drudge's link to the article reads "UPDATE: MICROSOFT Earnings Decline 11%; Concern about slowdown... ":

The results stoked concern that corporations are tightening their belts as the U.S. economy cools, even after a report from researcher IDC showed PC sales exceeded forecasts in the quarter. PC shipments rose 15 percent, Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC said this month. Microsoft had forecast as much as 11 percent.

If PC sales rose 15 percent, why is there a concern about a general slowdown? Isn't there just concern about Microsoft? Possibly people aren't upgrading to Vista. They could have focused on the overall 15 percent growth. They could have focused on Apple's 36 percent growth in profits.



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