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The Inflation Surge23:39
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A shopper looks for fruits and vegetables at Eastern Market in Detroit, Mich. in July 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A shopper looks for fruits and vegetables at Eastern Market in Detroit, Mich. in July 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Last month, the erosion was going strong. Prices up 5.6 percent as inflation hit its highest rate in 17 years. This is not news to anyone picking up a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas. But it is a big deal to family budgets and to the U.S. economy. Inflation hurts.

Now, softening oil prices may turn the tide. Or may not. Wages are not keeping up. Neither is the Fed, where chief Ben Bernanke has other fires to fight.

This hour, On Point: We’re facing inflation.

Are you feeling it — at the gas pump, at the grocery, at the mall? What is inflation doing to your household budget? Is your pay keeping up? Share your thoughts, your story, your questions, and join the conversation.

Guests:

Joining us from Washington is Greg Ip. He's the U.S. economics editor for The Economist.

From New York, we're joined by Ethan Harris, managing director and chief U.S. economist for Lehman Brothers. He worked for nine years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and he's author of the new book "Ben Bernanke’s Fed: The Federal Reserve After Greenspan."

And joining us in the studio is Zvi Bodie, professor of finance and economics at Boston University. He’s author of many books on investing and finance.

Also joining us, from Seattle, is Patricia Edwards, retail analyst at investment counseling firm Wentworth, Hauser, and Violich. She’s a close watcher of consumer goods prices across the board.

More links:

"Inflation Is a Clear and Present Danger" (Wall Street Journal)
On today's Wall Street Journal op-ed page, economist Brian Wesbury argues that a replay of '70s-style inflation could happen if the Fed doesn't raise interest rates.

This program aired on August 19, 2008.

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