Inflation Sucks… the Money from Your Wallet

Government reports show inflation was up 7 percent in 2021, the most since 1982. What they don’t tell you is tThe true rate is probably twice that.

Inflation hit a new high today, but I expect I didn’t have to tell you that. If you’ve gone grocery shopping, filled your gas tank, gotten new lease terms for your apartment, or tried to buy a car, then you already know it.

In fact, I think everyone but the government already knew it. Just like we all know the true inflation rate is higher than the reported 7 percent. Only the government can average together a 37 percent increase in used cars prices, a 14 percent increase in the cost of furniture, a 50 percent increase in oil prices, and a 6.5 percent increase in food and come up with a 7 percent rate of inflation.

Inflation is going to get worse. Even if next month’s results show it is growing at a slower rate, it’s still growing. I think Omicron may give us a brief economic pause as people stay in and spend less, either because they are sick or because they don’t want to get sick, but then it will speed up because of the supply chain disruption. Many companies, including manufacturer and meat-packers, are seeing production drop due to absenteeism attributed to Omicron. This is hurting production line speeds and slowing output, which will result in future supply chain problems.

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It Begins Again: Empty Grocery Store Shelves and how to Compensate

We lived with empty shelves after the panic buying of early 2020, but shortages today are caused by supply chain issues, not panic.

I recommend you go to this article and watch the video. It’s all local shoppers talking about how empty the shelves are. No pundits or talking heads, no corporate spokespeople making excuses, just pictures of barren grocery store shelves and customers complaining about how there is no food to be found in the area. One man predicts people will starve and says, “It’s gonna get rough around here.”

It’s not just meat and fresh vegetables, but dairy products, eggs, bread, and even lunch meat and frozen foods. If you want to see more images, just look for the hash tag #emptyshelvesbiden.

The problem seems to be largely in areas where omicron is bad, with the situation in some areas exacerbated by bad weather. Still, if grocery stores in your area are empty, it doesn’t matter if the shelves are full somewhere else. People aren’t going to drive to Florida to buy groceries.

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Omicron Shows the Danger of our Fragile Society

Have you noticed it yet? In 2020 the government forced us to shut down. Today sick employees are causing slowdowns and backlogs.

I read an article from the Associated Press today which outlines how our system is collapsing because so many people are out sick with COVID-19. It’s not just hospitals and airlines that are overwhelmed but pharmacies, police, fire, EMS, and schools. Mass transit is reducing schedules, trash pickup is behind, the TSA is closing security lines, and plenty of restaurants and small business are getting hit as well.

Another article talked about the slowdown in meat-packing plants due to illness, shortages of food inspectors, fears that there will be an egg shortage, and the lack of employees on farms and at grocery stores to restock shelves.

Let me put this another way: The illness of 5 million people, not all of whom are in the workforce, is crippling our country.

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Omicron: Its going to Get Worse

Airline delays and cruise ship cases are just the warning signs. As we move beyond the holidays, the damage and danger of Omicron will become clear.

Back in the early 2000s, we would fly to the relative’s house many states away for Christmas. I think it lasted three years before I stopped it because air travel is a miserable way to spend Christmas vacation.

This year, it’s even worse with thousands of flights canceled and many more delayed. The reason? COVID. And now that the holidays are over, the impact of COVID is going to be even worse.

Last week, it was a shortage of pilots and flight crews which resulted in massive inconvenience. What are you going to do when it is a shortage of truck drivers, grocery store workers, and teachers? Who’s going to work in hospitals when the double-vaccinated nurses are out sick?

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Ringing in 2022 with Some Depressing Predictions

Happy New Year, but don’t get your hopes up. Our 2022 predictions for 2022 say it will be expensive, dangerous, and depressing.

In a recent survey, seven out of ten registered voters said 2021 was a bad year for the country, and 55 percent said it was a bad year for them personally. Brace yourself because I have bad news: 2022 will not be any better. In fact, I think it may be worse. Let’s look at why I feel that way.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

That phrase helped Bill Clinton win in 1992, but it’s going to help Democrats lose in 2022 because the economy will still be drowning in inflation by the time the mid-term elections take place. I do expect the supply chain problems to continue. That means inflation looks like it will continue to rise for most of the year. Food prices will be much higher. The average gas price will go back up above $4.

Mixed with less spending due to higher prices, this will eventually become stagflation, meaning people will spend less even as prices rise, slowing the economy.

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COVID hits Close to Home

The omicron variant is sending COVID cases skyrocketing across the country, including our family members, so we decide to stay close to home.

My eldest daughter’s family was exposed to COVID-19 while visiting his relatives on Christmas day. No one realized it then. They just found out that their host tested positive yesterday. Now one of them has symptoms and they are waiting for test results. Looks like our second Christmas will be delayed.

Separately, and in another part of the country, my wife’s niece was diagnosed with COVID. She probably contracted it at a gathering of friends to celebrate her birthday in mid-December. Suddenly, those social things we have gradually allowed ourselves to do again are going back on the prohibited list. It makes me glad I am introverted enough I don’t depend on an active social calendar to keep me happy and well adjusted.

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Have they learned nothing about COVID since 2020?

We are entering the third year of the COVID pandemic and the government is doubling down on the same tactics that didn’t stop COVID last time.

I continue to be amazed at all the doom and gloom about the new Omicron variation of COVID-19. Suddenly, the news is full of school closings, test kit shortages, overwhelmed hospitals, and dire forecasts of one million dead. Yet there still is little or no proof that this variation is any more dangerous than the flu. Hospitalization and COVID deaths are well below last year’s levels.

Later today, President Biden will address the nation, probably to encourage all of us to get vaccines and boosters. I doubt it will do any good. If people believe in the vaccine, they would have gotten it already. If people don’t want to, a presidential threat won’t change their mind.

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Omicron Surge Will Lead to more Restrictions

Get ready for more government-mandated lockdowns, closures, and restrictions on your freedom as Omicron cases in the U.S. doubled between Friday and Saturday.

While the subject is not getting much national news coverage in the U.S., government officials are laying the groundwork for more closures and tighter restrictions. They are using the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 to set the stage for stricter rules to be implemented after Christmas. They will blame Omicron and tell us these rules are for our protection.

Think back to 2020, when restaurants and bars were shutdown and then had limited seating, theaters were closed, concerts canceled, and sports teams played in empty stadiums and arenas. I expect some states will re-impose similar restrictions. Omicron will also be an excuse to do more remote learning and to delay the timeframe in which people have to go back to the office. Get ready for more zoom calls and fewer face-to-face meetings.

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Prepper News Update December 10

More Details on Follow-Home Robberies in California

This article from The Wrap provides more details on California follow-home robbers, which we covered last week.

Three Potential Crises

If you thought our recent coverage of the threat of Russia invading Ukraine and China invading Taiwan were a bit much, then you will be shocked at this mainstream news report that says “A potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chinese pressure on Taiwan and shaky Iran nuclear talks represent a perilous moment for President Biden.”

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Prepper News Update December 3

Oops! Media Caught in Another Lie

The idea that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have less of a backup, which has been reported in the media, turns out to be a clever lie which appears to make the Biden administration look like it is successfully addressing the supply chain problems. Instead of bunching up the ships in the immediate area, where they can be seen from shore, many ships are now waiting between 40 and 400 miles away from the ports. Just because they can’t be seen doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but it makes it more difficult to show pictures of the backlog.

Supply Chain SNAFUs in the News

Numerous articles of late showing that the supply chain problem not only continues but shows no sign of improving. First, we have this article on how much trouble GM has building and shipping vehicles, which states, “So many unknowns dog the supply chain that any semblance of normalcy remains far off.” Then we have a story on the bicycle industry which saw an increase in sales during the COVID-19 outbreak, but now is having trouble sourcing parts, from brake pads to handlebars. According to the article, “The average selling price of a new bicycle in the U.S. in September was $346, up 28% compared with 2020 and 54% higher than the average selling price of a bicycle in 2019”

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