Letters to the Editor: Inflation’s OK if you are poor and have assets. See the problem with that?

A shopper walks through the dairy aisle of a grocery store
A shopper walks through the dairy aisle of a grocery store. Prices for food and other consumer goods have been soaring.
(Stefani Reynolds / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Economist Edward Wolff tells us to look on the bright side of inflation — it increases the wealth of the working and middle classes, especially Blacks and Latinos, relative to rich Americans. Tell that to those who have little or no assets and an income that barely meets everyday needs.

Take your “average” below-median wage earners, living in a rental dwelling, driving a financed car, with little or no savings. What are their assets that will increase in nominal value from inflation? And their debts must be paid regularly out of income left over after paying fixed costs that have increased from inflation.

As for homeowners, an economist may say that over time, the inflation-adjusted amount of their mortgage payments will decrease. True, but homeowners don’t pay with inflation-adjusted dollars; they pay with the dollars they have.


And even Wolff recognizes the income effect of inflation results in people being able to purchase less if inflation exceeds the increase of their income.

Any suggestion that middle- and working-class people will actually benefit from extended inflation compared to the rich is to imagine a world different from the one we live in. Inflation is more likely to result in foreclosures, repossessions and bankruptcies among the non-wealthy.

William Funk, Ojai


To the editor: Thank you for publishing another brilliant, counterintuitive insight from a professor at a renowned university.

So, inflation is really a blessing in disguise for the middle class and poor, especially people of color? In the short term, of course, they will suffer, but it will all be justified one day when we achieve the utopian dream of a classless society.

Question: How many college professors of economics does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Only one to explain to you that there’s no need to change a burnt-out bulb because we really see better in the dark.


Robert Rakauskas, Winnetka