Inflation Nation (First of a Series)

“Inflation (noun): 2. A continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services.”

“Transitory (adjective): 1. Of brief duration: temporary. 2. Tending to pass away: not persistent.”

Thanks to Merriam-Webster for these clarifying entries, which together define one perspective on risks of higher prices in the US. But there are also market participants and economists who worry that the unleashing of pent-up consumerism will create inflation akin to the 1970’s. If that happens, they fear, the Fed will be hard pressed to put the cost genie back in the bottle.

Nor are the Chicken Littles relegated to a few outliers. In a thought piece published last month entitled “Why Our Managers Disagree on Inflation, Interest Rates and Growth,” Franklin Templeton’s strategists agreed prices were on the rise but disagreed whether this was “cyclical” (moving with markets) or “secular” (a longer-term feature).