The 5 Cities With the Highest Inflation in America

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In each of these cities, inflation is higher than 10 percent.

 

My wife and I recently were out for our morning walk and she commented on how weird inflation is. Some prices are sky high, she observed, while others have barely budged.

A carton of eggs is up 33 percent over the last year, while tomatoes haven’t changed at all. Airline flights are through the roof, but the cabin we rented on our last vacation was several hundred dollars less than in previous years. Our electric bill is soaring, but her personal care products and my son’s new sneakers were about the same (or less) than what she had previously paid.

It’s clear that prices are a complicated business, and not just because value is subjective. The cost of producing and distributing goods in an economy is incredibly complex, something no single person can possibly understand, let alone calculate.

While the basic economics of inflation tend to be simple—increase the money supply and, all else equal, money becomes less valuable—the specifics of inflation can be complex and difficult to understand, because economies are complex and difficult to understand.

We see this not just in the fact that some products and services are impacted by inflation more than others. We also see it by the fact that inflation is rising in some places more than others.

While recent data released by the Labor Department show that inflation slowed down in July (8.5 percent annualized), it remains hot, especially in certain places. A recent report by WalletHub found that in many US cities, prices are 10 percent higher than a year ago.

Below is a list of the five cities where inflation is the highest, according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.

1. Anchorage, Alaska: 12.4%

2. Phoenix, Arizona: 12.3%

3. Atlanta, Georgia: 11.5%

4. Tampa Bay, Florida: 11.2%

5. Baltimore, Maryland: 10.6%

Following the release of the government’s inflation numbers on Wednesday, many suggested the US economy may be at an inflation “turning point.” Hopefully this is true, but it is far from certain.

An abundance of historical evidence shows that governments are far better at creating inflation than curbing inflation, a phenomenon that has plagued (and even destroyed) civilizations ranging from the Roman Empire to 20th Century China and beyond.

“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek once observed.

This is why Hayek saw it as imperative to take the control of money “out of the hands of the government.” History shows that those in power spend beyond their means, and these debts eventually come due. When they do, rulers turn to money printing or other forms of currency debasement, eroding its value (sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly).

The US is a long way from the hyperinflation that crippled Weimar Germany—where in 1923 a single US dollar was worth a trillion marks—and plagues Venezuela even today, but inflation is a patient killer. Over time, it eats away at retirement accounts, pensions, wages, and savings, and as my colleague Peter Jacobsen noted last year, working-class and poorer Americans are the ones least able to protect themselves from inflation and most likely to feel the difference.

Most Americans don’t need an economist or politician to point out the harms of inflation, especially those living in Anchorage, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, and Baltimore.

What they need is sound money, but it’s clear that is something they will not get as long as the government controls it.

 

*****

This article was published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education, and is reproduced with permission.

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Maricopa County GOP To Formally Censure County Recorder RINO Stephen Richer TONIGHT After Tuesday Primary Election Debacle – MARICOPA STILL COUNTING

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Editors’ Note: The following article is published to report the frustration and disappointment with the conduct of the August 2nd primary election in Maricopa County under the leadership of Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. The Prickly Pear interviewed Mr. Richer in 2020 as a candidate for the Recorder’s office when he ran against and defeated Adrian Fontes, a Democrat partisan with clear violations of his role as a nonpartisan Recorder conducting honest elections. Stephen promised to make the Recorder’s office “boring again” and stated publicly that Fontes was incompetent and had criminally violated the office. The 2022 primary election in Maricopa County speaks very poorly of Mr. Richer’s competence and we question his ability to manage the November general election and, critically, the 2024 election. We are not yet calling for his removal as stated in the following article but are watching closely his performance and behavior going forward.

Separately, we observed voter after voter (too numerous to count) arriving at our polling stations this past Tuesday, August 2nd, depositing their ‘mail-in ballots’ in the ‘mail-in ballot’ box located where we traditionally actually cast our vote in the voting booth with the result available for tabulation by the evening for announced election results. With 80-85% of Arizonans voting by mail-in ballot and ballots arriving in their mailboxes almost 30 days before election day, dropping these green envelopes off at polling stations the actual day of the election prevents a full counting for days to weeks, if ever, with significant opportunity for election fraud. Signature verification and actual recording of mail-in ballots are labor intensive and delay the final vote tallies for every office throughout the state. A future article at The Prickly Pear will examine this major issue of the voting mechanisms in our state with recommendations for voter education and reform of our broken electoral system.

 

Tonight, The Maricopa County Republican Committee will move to formally censure RINO Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, who ran on a platform of rooting out corruption in elections and cracking down on election fraud, but has done the exact opposite.

This resolution calls on Richer to resign or be permanently expelled from office by the voters through a recall.

Maricopa County had another corrupt election on Tuesday. The Gateway Pundit reported on the major fraud concerns and issues in Maricopa and statewide. We also reported that Maricopa County stopped the counting in the middle of the night on election night, just after Trump-Endorsed MAGA Queen Kari Lake took the lead.

Now, they’re still counting the ballots! The whole world is watching and wondering, what the hell is going on?

Maricopa County Member at Large Brian Ference introduced this resolution. He previously introduced a resolution to reject the 2020 Presidential Election Certification, which passed unanimously. Ference is a true Patriot.

Stephen Richer is currently overseeing the Primary Election debacle in Maricopa County, where the counting continues two days after the election.

Richer also fought against the Arizona 2020 Election audit every step of the way, in lockstep with the corrupt Maricopa County Supervisors. As we reported, he wrote fake hit pieces about the audit and frequently trashed it on cable news shows

However, The Gateway Pundit exclusively reported on undercover audio tapes revealing that Stephen Richer does not trust Dominion and agrees the 2020 election was compromised.

The calls for Stephen Richer to resign from office are growing. Tyler Bowyer called for this on Election night for his incompetence…..

*****

Continue reading this article at The Gateway Pundit.

Scottsdale Official Faces Board Expulsion After Arizona AG Files Suit

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

School Board member Jann-Michael Greenburg is facing potential removal from the Scottsdale Unified School District school board.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court, arguing that Greenburg should be required to step down from the board after multiple violations of public hearing requirements.

Brnovich said Monday the lawsuit’s goal is to, “…seek to have Greenburg removed, impose civil penalties on the board, and ensure no future Open Meeting Law (OML) violations occur.”

The lawsuit takes place after a series of meetings in August 2021, when Greenburg, “knowingly structuring an agenda and meeting so as to prohibit public comment about a proposed mask mandate and other subjects…” the complaint read.

Greenburg faced scrutiny by school district officials and the Scottsdale Police Department for his alleged involvement in keeping and sharing a set of online files containing personal information of parents who opposed the board’s COVID-19 mitigations, including information on some of their children. Greenburg’s father, Michael Greenburg, was allegedly the proprietor of the information. Neither organization found any reasons to pursue charges.

The school board voted to remove Greenburg from his position as president in November 2021, with some recommending he resign.

The suit stated Greenburg created content restrictions during board meetings, cutting off speakers when they strayed too far from the topic of the instructional time model. Similarly, Greenburg interrupted multiple parents, going as far as to conclude with profanity directed at the parents.

Though criticism of parents’ remarks is allowed, it must be done after the close of the open call to the public.

Creating content restrictions as well as interrupting speakers is considered a violation of the school board meeting code, thus breaking the Scottsdale Unified School District Number 48’s rule, “…to open the conduct of the business of government to the scrutiny of the public and to band decision-making in secret.”

If Brnovich wins, Greenburg could face expulsion from the Scottsdale school board. As described by the case document, “The Open Meeting Law further provides that in such a suit ‘the court may remove the public officer from office.’”

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Phoenix Metro Area Homes Among Nation’s Most Overvalued, Study Finds

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Phoenix housing market has become overpriced. 

That’s according to a recent study from researchers at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University.

The research found that homes in various metro areas are substantially overvalued with a low supply of houses on the market. It found that four U.S. housing markets are overvalued by more than 60%. Meanwhile, homes in another 11 markets are overvalued by 50% or more.

The research says that the Phoenix metro area ranks sixth nationally in terms of overvalued housing markets at 57.94%.

Home prices have increased rapidly in the Phoenix metro area. The average home price as of April 30, 2021, was $356,078. That means the average home price increased by more than $110,000 in a one-year span; it was a 30.9% increase in home values. Meanwhile, the expected home price only increased by about $10,000 in that stretch.

The economists who conducted the study don’t think this trend will continue.

“Near-record-low mortgage rates helped fuel demand for housing, especially during the pandemic, and the competition for homes pushed prices higher. But now the Federal Reserve is raising rates to curtail inflation, and already that’s cooling demand,” Ken H. Johnson, an economist in FAU’s College of Business, said in a press release.

“If we’re not at the peak of the current housing cycle, we’re awfully close,” he added. “Recent buyers in many of these cities may have to endure stagnant or falling home values while the market settles – and that’s not what they want to hear if they had planned to resell anytime soon.”

The top-10 metro areas included in this study ranked by how overvalued homes were: Boise City, Idaho (72.64%); Austin, Texas (67.70%); Ogden, Utah (64.73%); Las Vegas, Nevada (61.48%); Atlanta, Georgia (58.01%); Phoenix, Arizona (57.94%); Provo, Utah (57.02%); Fort Myers, Florida (56.26%); Spokane, Washington (56.25%); and Salt Lake City, Utah (55.75%).

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona Bans Public Workers From Union Political Work On Taxpayer Dime

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a first-in-the-nation law banning public entities from paying workers to conduct union politicking.

Ducey signed the Release Time Reform Act. The new law bans any unit of government in the state from entering into a contract that allows “paid release time” or union workers advocating for the election or defeat of a candidate. It also bans them from lobbying or advocating for or against any legislation, ordinance, or ballot initiative.

The new law does not affect any existing labor contracts.

In the Goldwater Institute’s 2020 report Money for Nothing, the nonprofit found government workers across the country conducting union work while drawing pay from a taxpayer-funded entity. Some employees would devote all of their time to union work while paid via their government employer, the report found.

“Public funds should advance the public’s interest, not the political and lobbying activities of private labor unions,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches said. “This law will ensure that tax dollars cannot be used to pay government workers to lobby and engage in political activities for labor unions instead of working for the public.”

The City of Phoenix paid 67,511 hours of paid union release time in 2020, resulting in $3.7 million in wages. The report noted release time pay attributed to a worker’s pension, meaning the wages add to annual retirement costs for the city. The city contracts with seven different unions allowed for up to six full-time release positions, including other part-time work positions funded by taxpayers.

A city representative stated the government’s opposition to Senate Bill 1166 but did not speak against it in committee hearings.

The city did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The Goldwater report found the federal government allows up to 3.6 million hours of release time annually. The nonprofit tallied the taxpayer cost at $177 million.

*****

This article was published in The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Maricopa County, Phoenix Area, Lead Nation in Population Growth Amid Pandemic

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arizona’s valley region was one of the few major metropolitan areas in the country to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s business closures, remote work, at-home school, and other disruptions.

On Thursday, the U.S. Census released more detailed data from its annual population estimates recording changes in headcount from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.

Maricopa County, the nation’s fourth-largest by population, gained an estimated 58,246 people in that timeframe. The increase, calculated by adding births and incoming residents and subtracting those who left or died, is more than any other county. The Census data shows an increase of 46,866 solely because of domestic migration, more than any other county.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a dispersion of people from some of the nation’s largest metropolitan counties to smaller cities or suburbs, which Census demographers say led to a broad increase in population for most counties.

“The patterns we’ve observed in domestic migration shifted in 2021,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “Even though over time we’ve seen a higher number of counties with natural decrease and net international migration continuing to decline, in the past year, the contribution of domestic migration counteracted these trends so there were actually more counties growing than losing population.”

While most of the largest cities saw population decreases, the Census said 63% of metro areas had positive net domestic migration. The largest of those was the Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler area, which saw an increase of 66,850.

“Phoenix has a very welcoming environment for new families, part of the reason the city added more population over the past decade than any other U.S. city,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told The Center Square Thursday. “While the Census estimates for cities have not been released, the dynamic growth of Greater Phoenix is also being felt in our city. We’ve prepared for growth with smart policies, attracting high-value employment opportunities, and led the nation in life sciences job growth in 2021.”

Gallego touted the area’s business ecosystem attracting startups as well as legacy companies to expand.

“The Census reports Phoenix has the shortest average commute time of any major city,” she said. “This is important for families creating a positive work-life balance. Over the past five years, we’ve seen most of our new families coming from southern California, Chicago, and the northwest. However, because of our significant growth in technology and bioscience jobs, we’re also seeing large numbers of new families joining us from Asia, according to Census data.”

Los Angeles County saw the largest numeric decrease in population of any county, dropping 159,621 in total population.

Statewide, Arizona’s decennial Census figures saw growth but many were surprised that the population increase wasn’t enough to earn the state a 10th member of Congress for the first time since 1950. The difference between the last annual estimate and the official count was higher than in any other state. A total of 7,151,502 people called Arizona home as of April 1, 2020, according to the official 2020 count. An earlier estimate by census counters had the population as 7,421,401, a 3.6% difference that wasn’t in the state’s favor.

*****

This article was published in The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona Senate Study Finds 200k ballots Counted in 2020 With Mismatched Signatures

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

The estimate is more than eight times the number of mismatches acknowledged by the county.

A study of Maricopa County’s mail ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimates that more than 200,000 ballots with mismatched signatures were counted without being reviewed, or “cured” — more than eight times the 25,000 signature mismatches requiring curing acknowledged by the county.

Commissioned by the Arizona State Senate, the signature verification pilot study was conducted by Shiva Ayyadurai’s Election Systems Integrity Institute, which released its final report to the public on Tuesday. Ayyadurai is an engineer and entrepreneur with four degrees from MIT who bills himself as the inventor of email, a claim which critics have alleged is exaggerated.

Of the 1,911,918 early voting mail ballots that Maricopa County received and counted in the 2020 presidential election, the county reported that 25,000, or 1.3%, had signature mismatches that required curing, but only 587 (2.3%) of those were confirmed mismatched signatures.

Under Maricopa County election rules, a reviewer first compares a signature on an envelope with the signature on file for the voter, which takes about 4-30 seconds. If the signature does not appear to match, the ballot is cured, which takes three or more minutes and includes attempts to contact the voter to determine whether or not the signature is a match.

In the signature verification study, three expert forensic document examiners and three novices reviewed 499 images of early voting mail ballot envelopes to determine if the signatures on them matched with the signatures on file. All the reviewers agreed that 60 of the 499 envelopes, or 12% were signature mismatches…..

*****

Continue reading this article at Just the News.

Arizona GOP Vote to Cut Maricopa Into 4 Counties

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arizona Republicans, stressing the value of local representation and denying retaliation over the 2020 general election controversy, have given early approval to legislation that would split Maricopa County into four counties.

Should Gov. Doug Ducey sign House Bill 2787, it would take the nation’s fourth-largest county and split it into four counties by June 15, 2023. Maricopa County would remain but would be much smaller and centralized around metropolitan Phoenix.

To the north, Mogollon County would include parts of North Phoenix, Scottsdale, Carefree and Cave Creek. Newly-formed O’odham County would contain Buckeye, Goodyear, Peoria and Surprise, as well as the large rural swath of land to the southeast of the valley. Hohokam County in the southeast would become home to Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Queen Creek.

Lawmakers in the House Government and Elections Committee approved the bill along party margins Wednesday.

Rep. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, said his bill is about giving residents a government that would better represent local communities that might be different than the Phoenix population center.

“We are already 65% of the state population,” Hoffman said of Maricopa County in relation to the rest of the state. “If you represent southern Arizona, do you want Maricopa County, representing 65% of the power base in this state, consolidated and centralized into one single place?”

Maricopa County has a larger population than half of the U.S. states and more than 109 countries and territories, Hoffman said.

Democrats uniformly opposed the bill, saying carving up the county is retribution for officials opposing Republican efforts to overturn the 2020 general election results that determined President Joe Biden won the state’s 11 Electoral College votes over former President Donald Trump.

“This is not about representation,” Rep. Lorenzo Sierra, D-Avondale, said. “This is about putting more chips on the roulette table so that you can win your bet. One of these three counties, I’m sure, would have decertified the election in a heartbeat.”

Hoffman and other Republicans refuted the accusations.

“Any attempt to paint this as retaliation or retribution to the county is pure conspiracy theory,” Hoffman said. “To say that this has anything to do with the election is laughable and nothing more than a conspiracy theory.”

Hoffman noted there have been several other attempts to split the county.

Other Democrats said the cost of creating three new county governments would represent a taxpayer burden. Hoffman acknowledged the potential cost but maintained the benefits of local representation would outweigh the cost, adding that counties could work together via intergovernmental agreements.

The measure still needs consideration in a couple of House committees and the full chamber before it can be sent to the Senate and then Ducey for his signature.

With a population of more than 4.4 million people, Maricopa County has a larger population than all but Los Angeles (California), Harris (Texas), and Cook (Illinois) counties. The original Arizona Territory consisted of Mohave, Pima, Yavapai, and Yuma. Maricopa County was formed in 1871, more than 40 years before Arizona’s statehood in 1912. Maricopa’s boundaries were last changed in 1881 to carve out Gila County to the east.

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Phoenix Six-Figure Job Growth Ranks Second Among Large U.S. Metros

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

Phoenix has the second-highest percentage change in high-paying jobs out of a list of large U.S. metros, according to a Stessa report.

Phoenix saw a 217.1% increase in six-figure jobs from 2015 to 2020, marking the second-largest percentage increase among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

More Phoenix workers made six-figure salaries in 2020 than the national average. Out of Valley workers, 180,740, or 8.6% of the workforce, made six-figure salaries in 2020, while only 7.9% of workers nationally made $100,000 or more. Only 57,000 workers in the Valley reported salaries of $100,000 or more in 2015. Phoenix’s percentage beats all but two of the study’s 15 largest metros, including first-ranked Nashville.

“We are leading the nation in high-wage industry growth, including semiconductors, electric vehicle manufacturing, biosciences, start-ups and more,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego’s office told The Center Square. “Our efforts to accelerate and strengthen the business operating environment in Phoenix and the greater region are reflected in this exciting job growth, a sign of our economic vitality.”

In response to the report, Gallego called Greater Phoenix a “national leader and top relocation destination for families, jobs, and businesses.”

Phoenix provides residents with more opportunities and a higher quality of life, Gallego said.

Tucson ranked eighth on the list with a 156.2% percentage change in six-figure jobs between 2015 and 2020.

*****

This article was published on January 1, 2022, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Covid Vaccination Incentives Could Cost Phoenix $29 Million

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

The city of Phoenix will offer bonuses up to $2,000 to vaccinated city employees, costing the city between $25 million to $29 million.

The Phoenix City Council voted, 6-3, this week to approve the bonuses, which will go out to full and part-time employees by Jan. 18. City employees who do not have the option to work remotely already were set to receive $500 bonuses from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Councilmembers decided to grant an additional premium bonus to those same employees if vaccinated.

The approval allows the city to give an additional $1,500 bonus to full-time employees and a $750 bonus to part-time employees who are fully vaccinated by Jan. 18. The city of Phoenix will use the remaining $198 million from ARPA to fund the bonuses.

Councilmember Betty Guardado, who voted in favor of the measure, hopes the incentive will increase vaccination rates.

“This is money that is going to come very handy to a lot of people that are out there that continue to keep us safe,” Guardado told Fox 10.

Councilmembers Ann O’Brien, Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio voted against the measure.

DiCiccio accused the council of “politicizing” the COVID-19 vaccine in his statement at the formal meeting.

“While certain leaders were cowering in their homes, hiding from COVID, brave men and women, primarily from police and fire, were out there protecting us,” he said.

*****

This article was published on December 17, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

COPYRIGHT © 2022 PRICKLY PEAR COMMUNICATIONS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.