The Treasury and Federal Reserve have been reporting that the inflation rate is "running somewhat below" their target rate of 2.0%. n the latest Board meeting, the decision was made to continue the current policy of buying $85 billion a month in bonds, and there is speculation this amount may be raised.
So, is "inflation below target a good thing? In short, no. First, let me point out that the "inflation rate" they are talking about isn't the same one you think you are familiar with. The Federal Reserve uses the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index. The rest of the country uses various flavors of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is near worthless for the evaluation of everyday prices and the PCE is even worse. By the way, the real rate of inflation, using the pre-1980 methodology, is running almost 10%.
There are two factors that make the current situation dangerous. First, the Fed's purchase of massive quantities of bonds is artificially driving money into other investments such as equities. This is the primary reason for the recent rises in the stock market. It's not an economic recovery. It's a bubble. Secondly, the 4.4 trillion dollars the Fed has already "printed" is a significant inflationary pressure. Every month the Fed buys up more bonds raises the water level behind the inflation dam. Right now, the 4.4 trillion, and the tens of trillions held by foreign banks, and the tens of trillions converted to Eurodollars are not accounted for in the inflation equation. When the bond market collapses, these factors will come into play rapidly.
If you are in the stock market (most people are, either directly or indirectly through pension plans, etc) be aware that conventional advisers such as Dave Ramsey are lying to you when they say the stock market is a great long term investment strategy. It isn't. The history proves it. And right now is the most dangerous time to be in the market since 1928. Be ready to move quickly.