No, tighter. Ooh, you know how I like it.
New data from the Labor Department confirm what most middle-class Americans already know: Inflation is squeezing them.There has to be some good news in there, right?
As consumer prices rose by 4.1 percent last year, the highest rate since 1990, the prices of basic essentials such as food, gasoline and health insurance climbed far more steeply, explaining why so many Americans are telling pollsters that the economy is their chief concern.
The inflation news would be worse if not for China. Prices for the types of consumer goods that are coming almost exclusively from China were down last year as in earlier years, serving to hold back broader U.S. consumer inflation.
Apparel prices fell 0.4 percent in 2007, footwear prices fell 0.9 percent and the price of furniture and bedding — China- and Brazil-dominated products that once were the domain of the Carolinas — fell by 0.9 percent.
The price of toys, which now come mostly from China, fell 4.7 percent last year. It's fallen every year since 1997.Ha! Told you so! Sure, it's all the stuff tainted with lead and chemicals, but as Wal-Mart truthfully proclaims with mucho gusto, 'save money, live better!'
Think how cheap the iodine, skin creams and bandages will be!
In case you were still harboring some doubts about these complex economic issues, fret not, mes amis. I'm sure if we just cut taxes, everything will be both hunky and dory.