Inflation has been pretty benign over the last 20 years, right? The U.S. Consumer Price Index has ranged from negative 0.4% in 2009 to a high of 3.8% in the awful 2008 economic year. In 13 of those 20 years, the CPI was below 2.5%, which is hardly comparable to the double-digit inflation rates that people experienced in the 1970s and 1980s.
You probably didn’t notice, but Monday, September 11 marked a milestone: the S&P 500 index’s bull market became the second-longest and the second-best performing in the modern economic era. Stock prices are up 270% from their low point after the Great Recession in March 2009—up 340% if you include dividends. That beats the 267% gain that investors experienced from June 1949 to August 1956. (The raging bull that lasted from October 1990 to March 2000 is still the winningest ever, and may never be topped.)