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As Income Shrink, Prices Are Going Up

As Income Shrink, Prices Are Going Up

By Marilyn Snyder

Published in the Redlands Daily Facts, December 12, 2013

Inflation is a quiet thief, stealing from you while you sleep. It steals from your food budget, even though your in­come may have dropped over the last several years.

The price of a can of soup goes up by a few pennies this month … as it did last month.

Those shoes on your chil­dren’s feet need to be treated more carefully since replac­ing them is now a financial de­cision.

You notice that eggs have become more valuable than the one laid by Jack-in-the-Beanstalk’s goose.

Then there’s the tricky way that products seem not to cost more until you notice that the package size has changed. Take the can of tuna that is mysteriously smaller and, shocker (!), the roll of toilet paper that just got narrower — but each product is still priced as before.

Your work commute and the cost of a family trip have also increased. The price of that fuel bill has more than dou­bled over the last 60 months — from $1.80 a gallon to to­day’s $3.58. Think about it … one of your most needed prod­ucts is costing you twice what it did since before President Obama entered office.

You watch your dollars get smaller and smaller while your bills keep getting bigger and bigger.

It’s progressively more dif­ficult to save anything in your rainy day fund since every day brings a sprinkle of escalat­ing costs.

A comedian once said that he didn’t mind going back to daylight saving time because, with inflation, an hour would be the only thing he’d saved all year.

Ah, if only the bloated price of food and gas was the only sign of inflation. Unfortu­nately inflation keeps affect­ing all those blossoming and burgeoning bureaucracies of government.

Every government bureau­cracy — city, county, state and federal — is looking for an­other way to get money from you through fees, penalties and taxes.

One of the reasons why tea party members believe in smaller government is be­cause, let’s face it, the fewer departments, agencies and bu­reaus there are, the fewer the fees, taxes and penalties to raid your pocketbook.

One area of inconspicu­ous inflation is the snowball­ing cost of unpaid federal gov­ernment services. To pay for those them, bonds are sold to foreign countries — bonds that will need to be paid back by one generation or the next. It’s as though the government were laying an expensive cape around the shoulders of our children, saying “Here, chil­dren, be warm today because tomorrow you freeze.”

Remember those interest­only mortgages that came with a balloon payment at the end of five years? You had to pay the mortgage off or re­finance. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth that went on when former homeown­ers stood out in the cold when they could do neither. That’s our future inflation at work, creating a burden that will seem to last forever.

Here’s how Thomas Sowell, senior fellow in economics at Stanford University, describes inflation: “It is a way to take people’s wealth from them without having to openly raise taxes. Inflation is the most universal tax of all.”

According to the Chap­wood Index, which looks at the prices of more than 25,000 products, the real rate of in­flation for just the Los Ange­les area last year was 12.3 per­cent, not the 1.2 percent that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta­tistics touts. The Consumer Price Index increase from 2008-12 was a total of 10.2 percent, but Chap­wood Index research found that for many cities, the cost of living increase was higher than that for only the year 2012.

Sadly many Americans are heading into the Christmas holidays with something far less than a holiday feeling.

Instead they are forced to cut back.

The problem is magni­fied by the fact that the me­dian household income fell to $51,371 in 2012, down from $55,030 in 2000, a 7 percent drop.

So we are making less money, our grocery and gas bills are higher, and we have to contend with the Obam­acare fiasco of inflated rates and larger deductibles.

Maybe Robert Orben is right.

“Inflation is bringing us true democracy. For the first time in history, luxuries and necessities are selling at the same price.”

Almost makes me afraid to go to sleep at night.