Steven Rattner | Too Many Smart People Are Being Too Dismissive of Inflation – The New York Times

Mr. Rattner, a contributing opinion writer, covers economics and finance.

Credit…Doomu, iStock/Getty Images

“We are all, to one degree or another, shaped by early experiences.

My father grew up during the Depression and never lost his fear of debt. I spent an early part of my career as a reporter at The New York Times, chronicling the rampant inflation that scarred the economy in the 1970s and the Federal Reserve’s struggle to contain it.

So far, the wary eye that I have kept on prices for four decades has been unnecessary. But now, with Congress poised to approve an additional $1.9 trillion in spending through the American Rescue Plan Act, I’m worrying again.

Yes, the monthly price index that tracks consumer prices continues to look benign. But even when casting aside the stimulus that the Biden administration wants to add to the economy, some important early warning signals have begun flashing.

The prices of many commodities are surging — copper and lumber because of a jump in home building. Global steel demand has pushed up iron ore prices. Even tin, heavily used in electronics, has soared as suppliers rush to meet consumer demand for new gadgets.”

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