Today’s news from the government comes as welcome relief after a week of sub-par economic reports. The economy’s fourth quarter expansion of 5.9%, higher than initially reported, ranks as the best performance in six years, according to the Department of Commerce. The government’s initial estimate last month was 5.7%, where economists pegged the quarter’s growth. But the group most surprised is undoubtedly the US consumer whose dour mood unsettled investors earlier this week. 

Aside from the ugliest political climate in recent American history, inflation worries of are beginning to rival those of oil concerns among those who are paid to prognosticate and pontificate.  The Consumer Price Index with volatile food and energy removed from the calculations was three times higher in September than in August.  The year-over-year measure was up 2.0%.  Record high oil prices are working their way into the prices of more goods and services.  The longer they remain high the more damage they can do.  Higher gasoline prices are almost a given at this point. 

Peter Ustinov said “Beliefs are what divide people.  Doubt unites them.”  There are numerous periods in history to support the statement.  Most notably, the World Wars brought global division that united one side against the other.  Internal disagreements were put on hold.  Unity ruled until the ‘doubt’ of the future was replaced by victory.