Glenn Beck claimed the Federal Reserve is driving up food prices by “printing too much money” and “devaluing our own currency.” In fact, U.S. food prices are forecast to rise by only 2-3 percent in 2011, and according to Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, U.S. grocery prices have actually decreased over the last two years.
Beck: Fed Driving Up Food Prices By “Printing Too Money, Devaluing Our Own Currency”
Beck: “Food Prices Going Up” Because “We're Printing Too Much Money, Devaluing Our Own Currency.” From the January 4 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: I told you that they have a plan. They have a destination. They have a solution. But they needed to create the problem. Never waste a crisis. You have the solution, never waste the crisis to bring you to that solution. You create the problem so the public will beg for the solution that you have designed. What are the problems they're creating? Oil going up. Why? The administration making it harder to drill. Food prices going up. Why? We're printing too much money, devaluing our own currency. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/4/11]
Beck: “It's Only A Matter Of Time Before We Experience The Same Thing That Is Happening In Europe With Inflation” Of Food Prices. On the January 5 edition of his Fox News show, Beck said:
BECK: We could again close all of our eyes and go like, oh the problem fairy is coming maybe tonight. And that seems exactly like what Europe is doing. They just had a 2.2 percent spike in their annual inflation, but the Central Bank of Europe said don't worry about it, OK, because their inflation -- and this is a quote -- is -- they're only experiencing inflation with higher prices of food, oil and other commodities.
Ah, well that makes me feel so much better. I thought it was something, you know, that the prices were going up with something necessary for, you know, basic human survival. And that would cause a problem. Silly me. Oh, did the problem fairy show up again?
It's only a matter of time before we experience the same thing that is happening in Europe with inflation and everything else. Today, headline from Bloomberg: World food prices jump on record on sugar, grain and oil seed cost. OK. You've known about this -- you watch this program. So now what? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/5/11]
In Fact, Data Do Not Support Beck's Claim That There Is Significant Food Inflation In The U.S.
USDA Predicts “2 To 3 Percent Food Price Inflation In 2011.” According to the USDA: “Although inflation has been relatively weak for most of 2009 and 2010, higher food commodity and energy prices have recently exerted pressure on wholesale and retail food prices. Hence, food inflation is predicted to accelerate during the first half of 2011, leading to a forecast of 2 to 3 percent food price inflation in 2011.” [ERS.USDA.gov, 12/23/10]
Economist Paul Krugman: “Grocery Prices Have Risen Somewhat Faster Than The Core Rate, But Over The Past Two Years Grocery Prices Are Actually Down.” In a November 19, 2010, New York Times blog post, Krugman wrote:
So, the following figure shows inflation measured at different time horizons. It asks, what is the average inflation rate over the past 10 years, the past 9 years, etc., if you look at core prices versus looking at food consumed at home, aka groceries:
What we see is that grocery prices have tended to rise faster than inflation as measured by the core CPI, but not by all that much: over the past 10 years the grocery inflation rate has been about half a point faster than the core inflation rate. If you look at more recent data, what you see is that grocery prices have bounced around; if you're asking about the one-year inflation rate, grocery prices have risen somewhat faster than the core rate, but over the past two years grocery prices are actually down.
Does this look to you like a situation in which real people experience soaring inflation, never mind what the pointy-headed types say? Not to me. But then, my head is especially pointy. [New York Times, 11/9/10]
Beck Also Dubiously Blamed Obama Drilling Policies For Rise In Oil Prices
Beck: Oil Prices Rising Because “The Administration [Is] Making It Harder To Drill.” From the January 4 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: I told you that they have a plan. They have a destination. They have a solution. But they needed to create the problem. Never waste a crisis. You have the solution, never waste the crisis to bring you to that solution. You create the problem so the public will beg for the solution that you have designed. What are the problems they're creating? Oil going up. Why? The administration making it harder to drill. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/4/11]
WSJ: Rise In Oil Prices “Has Been In Anticipation Of Improving Supply And Demand Conditions.” The Wall Street Journal reported on December 30: “The 12% rise in crude oil since mid-November has been in anticipation of improving supply and demand conditions. Demand in China and better-than-expected data on the U.S economy helped push oil to fresh two-year highs this month. Now, investors appear more cautious heading into 2011.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/30/10]