This collection of charts and graphs will explain why you may be feeling poorer lately. The price of nearly everything has gone up over the past few years. For example, meat and fresh vegetables have gone up 10% in the last year alone. These price increases are sometimes so gradual that we don't notice them immediately. But the inflating prices are beginning to drag down the budgets of many families - ours included. Last week I was in Canton and dropped by a Marc's store. I was SO excited to see cereal for under $3 a box that I stocked up and loaded my cart with it (much to the chagrin of the poor girl stocking the shelves). I felt like I had won the grocery lottery! I'm not the only one who's noticed. The Plain Dealer reports:
Tom Heinen, co-president of Heinen's Fine Foods, said that without a doubt, "these are the most significant across-the-board increases I've seen in my life." Corn is selling at $8 a bushel, more than double the $3 or $4 it was selling at last year, which drives up costs for everything from cattle to cereal, he said. "There's nothing out there that's telling us that commodity and energy prices are coming down," he said. "We're probably going to see the highest food prices we've seen in a long time."I'm having flashbacks to the 70's and the Carter years. I have a vivid memory of my mother coming home with our family's first can of SPAM - the first of many - an unfortunate result of the high cost of meat and everything else during Carter's rampant inflationary years. We had SPAM sandwiches, fried SPAM, and SLT's - SPAM, lettuce, tomato sandwiches.
Note that this 1970's SPAM ad is advertising "A lot of meat. But not a lot of money." Ah, the good old days of Jimmy Carter! Ryan, my computer geek Hillsdale College student tells me I should find some comfort in knowing that the percentage of the world population that consumes SPAM each day is 0.0000049%
|The graph reflects DOE's weekly survey ().|
Current Annual Inflation Rate
"The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based upon a 1982 Base of 100. A Consumer Price Index of 158 indicates 58% inflation since 1982. The commonly quoted inflation rate of say 3% is actually the change in the Consumer Price Index from a year earlier. By looking at the change in the Consumer Price Index we can see that what cost an average of 9.9 cents in 1913 would cost us about $1.82 in 2003 and $2.02 in 2007.
To find Prior Consumer Price Index (CPI) data on this table (back through 1913) click on the date range links below the table."
Food CPI and Expenditures: CPI for Food Forecasts