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Sunday, May 28, 2006


At this point in time, the inflation picture is fairly clear. Inflation is the result of flooding everything with cash. In this case, prices which could go up, did go up. Prices which could not go up, didn't. Anywhere people were bidding on assets with limited supply, you'd see the price rise: housing, stock prices, bonds. Anywhere you had a potentially unlimited supply, you'd see the price stay the same or even drop: manufactured stuff, many commodities, services that can be easily outsourced. Anywhere people could use their money to increase their standard of living, they did (big screen TVs and SUVs). At times some commodities became somewhat scarce, like steel and oil. But I believe that's a temporary thing as the world is capable of enormous supply of these things, even oil.

The cost of living has definitely increased, but very unevenly. Parts of the country where jobs have pricing power have resulted in huge increases in housing prices. The "average" car that people view as being "normal" costs about twice as much as it did 10 years ago. Same goes for what people view as "normal" television viewing equipment. It's like San Francisco during the gold rush when it was cheaper to send your laundry to China than to have it done locally.

But these things don't impact my investment activities. It's just armchair economics.

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