Inflation is killing us

SJ is part of a local writers group in Senoia that meets the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Senoia Library. You can also follow more of her writing at creativejuices-sjcox.tumblr.com.

The other day I went to the grocery store in the hopes of finding some cheap ingredients to quickly throw together something for dinner, and I ended up leaving after spending close to $50. My cart didn’t seem to have too many items, and I just couldn’t believe what I was spending. It had been my intention to only spend a quick twenty and be on my way. Well, I guess $20 doesn’t get you what it used to. It’s just proof that inflation is killing us.
The definition of inflation is the rate at which general level of prices for goods and services is rising and there is a fall in the purchasing value of money. The banks tend to attempt to limit inflation and avoid deflation in order to keep the economy running somewhat smoothly, but it doesn’t seem to make it any easier on the everyday man. When I checked the website for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their latest report on consumer prices showed prices rose by a seasonally-adjusted 0.5 percent in March, with food and energy prices accounting for nearly three-quarters of the increase.
It amazes me that while things may cost more than they did 20 years ago, people should also be making more money to pay for those things but of course they don’t. The price of minimum wage may have risen a dollar or so, but it is still not enough to pay for most things. The median household income in 1994 was $32,264. The most recent year I could find listed with full data available was 2013, so adjusting for inflation as of that year gives a median income of $51,868. Being an artist by trade, I find that to be a great deal of money. Most people who work minimum wage jobs and have no education cannot possibly ever hope to make that much money. It is a struggle just to get by. When you factor inflation into the mix, the average person is still making the same amount of money but prices for many of the daily necessities have gone up considerably, which means that each dollar earned does, in fact, buy less than it did 20 years ago.
I grew up listening to my parents talk about how, in their day, a McDonald’s hamburger cost you 15 cents and a trip to the movies cost you 25 cents if you got popcorn. Compared to prices today you can’t even buy a stick of gum for that price. It makes me believe I was born in the wrong era and if things continue to go the way they are going we are in serious trouble.

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