It's beginning to look a lot like inflation. Or is it? Statistics seem to tell the story, but when it comes to inflation, not everyone agrees how the plot will unfold.

If you follow government reports, inflation has been tame for some time. The rate was just 1.4% in 2010, and Morningstar's Ibbotson Associates says that brings the annualized rate down to 2.2% for the past five years, 2.3% for the past 10 years, 2.4% for the past 15 years and 2.5% for the past 20 years.

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