If you have lived here long enough, you'll notice that Billings is somewhat isolated from many of the national trends. For instance, this whole electric car thing that everyone seems excited about--not so here. Look at the vaccination rate among people who live here. It falls well below the national numbers. We just tend to buck national numbers on many things.

The one thing that I'm afraid we will not be able to avoid is the inflation surge. It's already had a major impact on the economy. With so many federal dollars being pumped in, and higher wages paid by employers, it's already being felt here. Have you gone to a fast-food hamburger joint lately? My son John and I recently hit one and it was $24 dollars for the two of us. Crazy, and we really didn't have much to eat.

Gas prices are going through the roof, so hold on, everything you buy will be hit with higher transportation costs. Any part or appliance you buy, any service you receive--all on the way up. This is one trend that I'm afraid we will experience like the rest of the country.

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Some things have yearly costs built right into the system anyway, like medical care. It seems to go up every year anyway, but no one ever goes in and asks, "How much to take out my appendix?" or fix a broken finger, or put a few stitches in. Another trend we seem to be following is the serious -crime-trend. We are seeing that we are subjected to the same things bigger cities are dealing with every day. So I guess the robbery at hamburger joints isn't that bad after all.

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