Let’s see if this sounds familiar: Too many jobs are chasing too few workers. Everything is in short supply with long waits, even for items like refrigerators and cars. Sometimes grocery store shelves are bare or stocked to a minimum. Housing prices are going up because the price of building materials has increased. The costs of renting a house or apartment have gone up too, assuming you can even find a place to live. Inflation is running rampant with no end in sight.

These conditions that sound so familiar today also occurred during World War II, though for very different reasons. For many people, inflation is an abstract concept; maybe it’s something they read about in the news or learned in a business or econ course. The specter of high inflation has not reared its economically debilitating head in over 40 years. Nobody under the age of 50 has ever had to deal with the inflation numbers we have today in North America.

Inflation insidiously eats away at the purchasing power of the middle and working classes. It steals food from people’s dinner tables. It feeds a never- ending chase, where people try to get raises from their miserly corporate masters to keep up with increased prices. In the race between prices and wages, inflation makes sure that prices win every time.

Warren Bernard is an author/lecturer in the history of editorial-political cartoons and the executive director of the Small Press Expo.

Art Young: Perfect Weather for Capitalism (1936) The Best of Art Young

William Summers: 40 American Handicap (1942) Buffalo Evening News

Reg Manning: Great Fun— While It Lasts! (1943) Santa Monica Evening Outlook

Daniel R. Fitzpatrick: If Our Lawmakers Fail Us (1951) Saint Louis Post-Dispatch

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