Look Ma, No Inflation

The Fed began a 2-day meeting today with many members in search of inflation. I happen to have a few charts for the Fed to ponder.

Medical Premiums

The feature chart on Health Insurance Premiums is from the National Conference of State Legislators. Those not in a company plan and not getting rebates report increases of 50% or more.

Yet, the BLS tells us the Medical Services CPI rose only 1.7% over the last year. Medical Care Commodities (drugs) rose only 1.0%.


The Index for Shelter rose 3.2% according to the BLS. Primary rent rose 3.8% with Owners’ Equivalent Rent (OER) up 3.2%

The BLS does not consider home prices as part of the CPI. Instead, here is the exact question the BLS uses to determine rent increases: “If someone were to rent your home today, how much do you think it would rent for monthly, unfurnished and without utilities?”

OER has the largest weight in the CPI at 24.583%.

Not Inflation

The folks at the Fed do not count a penny of that as inflation. Instead, it’s called a capital investment,

Not all of that rise represents inflation. Homes are bigger, with more features and better windows, better layouts etc. That said, the bulk of the rise is indeed a function of inflation.

Case Shiller

The Case Shiller index measures repeat sales of the same house. Improvements or degradations may or may not be accurately priced in but the index provides another look at what inflation might be.

Case Shiller Year-Over-Year Increases

In November of 2012, year-over-year inflation topped 5% and from then until now, never dipped below 4.3%. Home price inflation is currently 6.0% rounded to the nearest tenth.

The BLS says shelter is up 3.2%.

The Fed cannot find inflation. It thinks inflation is too low. Collectively, they are crazy.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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