“Red Flags”

Like orange cones along the interstate during the summer, red flags seem to be popping up everywhere.  Gas prices are higher as are food and lumber.  Restaurants are trying to reopen but can’t find workers.  Workers are being paid not to work so production is down and even though the government keeps sending out checks, there is less to buy because we are producing less.  I’m not an economist but this doesn’t seem to be the formula for a strong economy.  While commodity prices are high so too are input costs.  Just as farmers are finally starting to see profitable prices for their crops, the government wants more land taken out of production.  Spending programs that offer in part funding for much needed infrastructure improvements come with a heavy price tag.  Proposed changes to step up basis and in kind exchanges could create long lasting problems for many in agriculture.  While demand is strong for our ag commodities, west coast ports are backed up in part because of the influx of products we are buying from other countries.  Politicians tend to exaggerate situations both good and bad depending on which favors them and their positions.  Things may not be as bad as they appear but certainly aren’t as good as some would try to make us believe.  Checks in the mail are always popular but at some point they have to be paid for and it won’t just be the “rich” that pay for them.  It feels like inflation is lurking around the corner.  Hopefully not but if so it will cost all of us.  If this is prosperity, I just hope we can afford it.