The Weekend Deflation Meme

I spent the better part of the weekend getting schooled by some fly fishermen. They showed up in what seemed a hand painted black matte panel van, bum rushed the stretch I drove three hours for, camped there all day, and pulled trophy after trophy out of that section while I looked on in dismay. I distracted myself with two twelve inchers over the first eight hours, and one twenty incher five minutes before leaving. My hat goes off to that crew – they were fine fishermen (and they got up a half hour earlier than my lazy ass).

The latter part of the weekend was consumed by humbleness, and the weekend’s deflation meme. I hadn’t heard much of the word “deflation” until then, and now I’d seen it twice in just a day – combined with gloom and doom of course. Barry Ritholtz noted (emphasis mine) “A global recession is deflating all manner of commodities. This is a bad thing, not a good thing. At least he managed to wrap it in some sarcasm (The Economy is Just Fine) – The Wall Street Journal pulled no punches with the headline “Amid Pressing Problems, Threat of Deflation Looms“. Scary stuff, eh?

I’m still trying to figure out what the problem is. CPI & PPI fudging be damned – we’ve just exited a period of significant inflation. Housing, and commodities of all types, have been on a half-decade long tear. People aren’t buying homes any more because prices are too high (still), and those same folks are driving less because of gas prices (until the recent oil correction). Demand waned because incomes remained stagnant while the true cost of living marched on. People filled the gap with credit.

A measurable pullback in spectrum-wide prices would actually give consumers’ new buying power. Lessened reliance on credit (most of which no longer exists anyway). And maybe even some savings (which certainly doesn’t exist right now).

That should be a “good thing.”

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