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.