Inflation Hits a 40-Year High–And Businesses Ponder the R-Word |

While the cost of capital remains relatively inexpensive and consumers keep their foot on the pedal of the economy, the recent inflationary surge will likely drive the Federal Reserve to act to cool the economy. The big question: Can the Fed apply the brakes without slowing the economy into a recession.

In March, inflation rose 8.5 percent, a 40-year high, according to the latest reading of the Labor Department’s consumer price index, or CPI. Meanwhile, groceries surged 10 percent in March from a year ago, while food overall rose 8.8 percent. Used car prices are more than 35 percent higher than they were a year ago, dropping slightly since January, and nationally a gallon of gas is currently hovering at around $4, up 18.3 percent in March and nearing a record set in 2008.

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