From the Wall Street Journal:

Price inflation gauges eased in the first quarter. For instance, the price index for personal consumption expenditures rose by 3.5% after increasing 3.9% in the fourth quarter. The PCE price gauge excluding food and energy rose 2.2%, after increasing 2.5% in the fourth quarter.



It's usually best to specify that you're using an annualized quarterly figure, or a year-on-year figure . . . otherwise, the readers are apt to start stockpiling gold in the basement.

On a more serious note, the economy actually grew last quarter, albeit by a miserly 0.6%. Outright recession is starting to feel somewhat less likely to me, though even if we technically dodge two quarters of economic contraction, I expect we'll see very slow growth for some time to come.

There's also the problem of how much of that inflation is rising oil prices, and the resulting productivity shock therefrom, and how much of it is Helicopter Ben opening the monetary spigots. The Fed is expected to cut again today, but if they let inflationary expectations get well and truly established, the cure will be worse than the disease.

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