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Of course that depends on how you chose your basket...

And the contents of the baskets vary over time, as does inflation itself. How does the increase in types of goods that "the average family" needs factor into this discussion? For instance, some time in the '80s personal computers became important for families with aspirations for their children. In 1978 I bought a Toyota Corolla wagon of that model year for a little over $6,000.00. In 1981, I believe, I bought an Apple II with dual disc drives for about $2,500. In 1972 I had bought an HP 45 programmable calculator, for about $250.00. Neither the calculator nor the computer or anything comparable in price and function had been available five years before I made my purchases.

The home computer added an entire segment to our economy. It also became a significant expense item for middle class families. So how do we account for the varying contents of the baskets from, say, 1948, when only a small portion of households had TVs and very few had two cars to the mid 70s, when most households had at least one color TV and a large number had two cars, and on to the 21st century, when most households have at least two cars, multiple TVs, and multiple PCs.

And in which time were we better off? I think Elizabeth Warren has noted that family economic well being peaked in the early 70s and that the average family has been squeezed economically since, resulting typically in families with two incomes even when they have young children. But the basket is bigger.

 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 20th, 2010 at 12:14:48 AM EST
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