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Today, the LA Times does its best to help out the Fed by increasing inflation expectations, splashing this across its front page:

Rumblings of inflation grow louder

On Tuesday prices of many raw materials continued to surge, with gold, cotton and sugar reaching record highs. A closely watched index of 19 major commodities closed at a two-year high, despite a late-day sell-off in gold and oil. The effects are rippling from financial trading floors to local stores, forcing consumers to shell out more for everyday basics — a cup of coffee, a box of cereal, a gallon of gasoline.

….Take breakfast. This year alone, raw coffee prices on commodity exchanges are up 60%. Corn and soybeans, the basic feed for hogs and cattle, have risen 39% and 26%, respectively. Wheat, a dietary staple for many cultures, is up 33%, and sugar is up 23%.

Sounds grim. Of course, down in the 13th paragraph we get this from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service:

The agency forecasts that overall inflation for food prices, projected at 0.5% to 1.5% this year, in 2011 will range from 2% to 3%….Raw material costs often represent only a small portion of the final retail price of a product, compared with labor, marketing and transportation.

Huh. So food will be up maybe 1% this year and 2-3% next year. That’s pretty mild, and almost entirely a good thing. More inflation, please.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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