The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Our Stuff Costs More

On July 20th, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

empty walletI have written on these very pages over my many years of pontificating that the government’s measurement of inflation and the practical experience of those of us on the street are two totally different things. As an example, the government claims very little change in inflation, yet I assure you that the costs to take care of my family continue to go up.

What is the difference between us and them? Based on what I’ve tried to discern, I have concluded that “the man on the street” doesn’t have the time nor energy to perform this exercise in futility — we’re too busy going to work to pay for our stuff. Suffice it to say, add inflation calculations to the list of things that serves as a major disconnect between real people and the government.

You and I are too simple and practical. It boils down to this: Our stuff costs more, plain and simple, so inflation must be up. I don’t care what the economists behind the scenes are saying. Forget the high-brow, convoluted formula drawn up in a classroom somewhere. People’s paychecks don’t go as far. PHOOEY!!!!

Lo and behold, I saw proof that you and I aren’t crazy. We do know what we’re talking about. On this past Monday, July 13, the Wall Street Journal provided all of us working stiffs with an analysis of what is really going on in our world.

Men’s suits cost less to manufacture over the past five years, but to get the suit dry cleaned has gone up almost 10%. AH-HA!!! I don’t buy suits very often, but a visit to the dry cleaner is a couple of times per month. My TV costs almost 58% less to manufacture over these same five years, but my cable/satellite bill is up just under 14%. AH-HA!! See, we weren’t crazy. We knew something was going on.

I don’t send cards and letters to people, but the stationery that is used is less expensive. Sadly, the stamps to mail it are up about 20%. I don’t drink, but a bottle of wine is manufactured for less. However, when you go to buy that wine in your favorite restaurant, it’s up 12%. And I don’t play any sports (other than a bad round of golf every once in a while), but to go cheer on my favorite professional sports team, I’ll pay about 17% more than five years ago.

OK, the economy is made up of a potpourri of components and they all need to be factored into the inflation equation. But last I checked, most of us are not making our own suits, running our own vineyard, building our own golf clubs, nor using our workbench to construct a television. And I haven’t seen a carrier pigeon in a really long time.

We’re paying for services at a much higher rate. Inflation may not be in manufacturing, but the services I receive cost more than ever before. Have you ridden a bus lately? I remember when I could get across town for a nickel. AH-HA!!!

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