Inflation & Florida, We (might) Have a Map Problem - Top 3 Takeaways


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Inflation & Florida, We (might) Have a Map Problem - Top 3 Takeaways – May 13th, 2022 

  1. But wait. It's worse, way worse, than what we’re already paying for. Yes, the Consumer Price Index came in at 8.3%. Yes, we’re at 41-year high inflation. Yes, the average household is 2.8% worse off, when adjusting for income growth, then a year ago. But it could be, and very well may be, much worse going forward. Yesterday’s PPI, or Producer Price Index, came in at a flaming hot 11%. What’s more is that the CORE rate, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.6% during the month. Meaning non-potentially transitory inflation at the wholesale level is surging. Yikes. That’s a problem. And when you factor in the fact that gas prices in real-time are at record highs... Yeah, there’s no doubt that inflation – as brutal as it's been – is only worse in real-time. But then there’s the view of the possible. Companies, which are so often derided by President Biden, as opposed to being engaged to seek solutions – have continued to shield us, as consumers, from the full effect of inflation. Companies ate 2.7% of the inflation rate as opposed to passing it through to us. So as bad as it's been, it could have been much worse. But here’s the thing. And it is a thing. You may have noticed the stock market is in bear-market mode with many industries and companies having already crashed...  
  2. The days of companies being able to eat the real effect of inflation are quickly coming to an end. So to are the jobs on demand as hiring freezes are now being issued at the largest companies in our society like Meta, which only two months ago said they couldn’t hire fast enough. Amazon, yes Amazon, has now stated they have too many employees. What do you think that means is coming? I’ve highlighted concerns in recent months about the job losses at small businesses across the country. In fact, back in January, that indicator and the persistence of inflation, were the reasons I cited the likelihood of an economic decline – which of course we had in the first quarter. What really are the odds that everything’s actually better now...as we’re halfway through the second quarter? The financial markets, led by the stock market, are leading indicators as well. They’re telling us something that the people responsible for the economic buffoonery I referred to early in the week are not. The reality is that companies are likely to start passing more of the real cost of inflation onto us and it's something we need to attempt to prepare for. Along with the rest of the reality check I’ve been attempting to offer up in a time-released way as we’ve received more data since January. I don’t like it any more than you, I wish I had better news. But then again, elections have consequences and there was a segment of our population so remarkably foolish that they we’re willing to throw the best policy president we’ve had since Ronald Reagan overboard because of his tweets. This is what we all get as a result. Let this be a lifelong lesson for all of us. 
  3. Florida we (potentially, likely?) Have a congressional map problem. So Wednesday, state Circuit Judge J. Layne Smith ruled against the state’s new congressional map. The one we recently had a special session to pass. The one Governor DeSantis essentially drew. And the judge who made the ruling. One Governor DeSantis himself had picked. The ruling was made citing concerns related to the district currently represented by Al Lawson. In the ruling, Smith stated minority representation was more important than geography. When I read the preliminary opinion, I felt like I was flashing back to my own writing. In my January 18th Q&A entitled: How Florida’s Redistricting Maps Must Be Drawn, I said this: While I think most Floridians would think geography would be the top consideration, independent of other factors, it’s not. And legally it can’t be. Under the Voting Rights Act, priority is given to the protection of racial minorities first, and geography second. Each district must have approximately the same number of people, representing racial balance and then attempting to make geographical sense. Independent of actual gerrymandering efforts, the reason why maps/districts, will often include long slivers of people extending alongside other districts is a result of these factors. Judge Smith’s interpretation of the law was no different than my interpretation and understanding of the law. This is to say that if a DeSantis appointed judge sees it that way, and the argument is consistent with yours truly as cited at the onset of this process... What are the odds the Supreme Court flush with DeSantis appointees will see it differently? Florida, we potentially, perhaps even likely, have a map problem.  

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