I recently received this email from the friend that I jokingly call "the guru." It's posted here with his permission.
I agree with JaneofVirginia on your linked Rational Preparedness blog. What bugs me is the government constantly changes the content of the "standardized" shopping cart they use to make statistics say what they want, as well as change definitions at the drop of a hat.
To see how bad inflation really is, simply translate prices into hours worked. A pound of hamburger used to cost about 10 minutes of work at minimum wage. Now, at minimum wage, it costs almost 45 minutes of work. Bread has risen (no pun intended) from about 5 minutes of work back in the 80s to about 30 minutes of work today.
The minute you get rid of the dollar and look at hours worked for an item, you can see how bad inflation really is. Like JaneofVirginia's daughter, my wife’s salary has increased a bit over the years, but the cost of taxes taken out and medical insurance has risen faster. Just two years ago she brought home $580 a paycheck, and today it is only $450.
My salary (as well as my co-worker’s salaries) has remained static the past ten years or more.
We are buying more and more food at the dollar store. A 3-pouch box of chicken noodle dry soup, which tastes EXACTLY like Lipton chicken noodle dry soup, costs only a dollar while the Lipton brand is now close to 3 for only two pouches in a box. I remember about 7 years ago I was paying only 79 cents for that same Lipton box.
And that explains why the dollar stores, where everything is a buck, are doing so very well now ... people cannot afford the brand names. Inflation, greed, and lust for money are the rule of the hour, day, month, and year.