If you own a business there is no doubt about it. Every product you purchased this year was up. Everyone blamed it on fuel. Even things that had nothing to do with fuel still blamed fuel as the reason and then gouged me on shipping. When I think of all these rising cost and then add them to the actual rise of fuel and heating, I can’t help but think of the people that work for me that don’t have the extra income to meet these increasing costs. I, of course, added additional money to their pay to help meet some of their needs but are other employers, most likely not. There is only so much I can do and I certainly can’t give everyone a 10% raise regardless of performance. The people that are suffering are the people making $10.00 and hour or less. Bernanke thinks that raising the interest rates are going to help curb the price increases but they are here to stay. When a company sees an opportunity to raise prices they will. Everyone expects it so why not. Big ticket items don’t seem to be rising as much (other than homes) and although there are always exceptions, the items that needed to be competitive are still priced well. Getting them to my business in a cost effective way is another story. Fedex and UPS have managed their prices well but the common carriers have raised prices incredibly. They can’t compete with the big boys and have given up trying. They know which items can’t be shipped with those two and charge accordingly. Will interest rates solve this? I don’t think so. Dropping fuel prices certainly will. I just don’t think that anyone will lower their prices once they do. There are plenty of exceptions to all my statements but one of the two WILL happen in 2006, fuel prices come down or wages go up.