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Thread: Curious if anyone has studied, really dug into, inflation?

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    Curious if anyone has studied, really dug into, inflation?

    Curious if anyone has studied, really dug into, inflation?

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    What is your actual doubt?
    Subject is very wide, politically and psychologically charged, a minefield, and cans of worms all over the place.

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    It's engineered into the system by use of "nothing-money" that is backed by nothing. Control.

    Suee, the "value" of tangible money (gold, silver, cattle, etc) fluctuates, but has never really been worthless like paper that's printed out of thin air and backed by nothing. And when your currency is backed by "the full faith and credit of the ------------ government," well then...

    Justin

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Curious if anyone has studied, really dug into, inflation?
    Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes (for a start) have

    http://inflationmatters.com/keynesian-inflation-theory/
    https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/tax-s...t-is-inflation

    <rant on>
    ..and look at fig. 1 https://www.businessinsider.com/char...75-2013-1?IR=T This is what happened when the government abandoned the gold standard and decided to use inflation as a hidden tax on all of us.
    </rant off>

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    Here's an article about prices going up.
    The FED is expected to keep raising interest rates.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-con...123001178.html
    T

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    Thanks for the posts and links, everyone. I think its one of the most interesting things Ive ever looked into (far distant to musical equipment, of course, and maybe young ladies in bikinis. Im not picky, ok, half a biniki is fine. ) The banking 'establishment' says its a general increase in prices. But Von Mises says its increasing the amount of money in circulation.

    It seems to be a more or less maddening mix of causes, causes that are very difficult to break into pieces we can view separately. If a drought hits the second of the country that grows pomegranites, and there is a pomegranite shortage in following years, and the prices double or triple, ... is that 'inflation'? We can easily see a cause-effect in this case. But, back in the 70's I believe, when printed inflation was running way over 10%, something like 13% or there abouts, there was a plywood shortage. The best I can tell, prices going wild, some piece of the government stepped in and put a price freeze on plywood, so producers took it off the official market, and it ended up on the 'black' market, prices continued to rise with no visible shortage of raw materials around that time.

    About 10 or 12 years ago, I priced: a well on my property for watering the lawn, a full set of brakes + rotors on my wife's car, a paint job on my house. Every one of those things doubled or tripled in prices in 10 years, but the printed 'inflation' rate bobbed around 2 to 4% for the decade. (Should have bought the damn well, its doubled in price again )

    Whatever thumbnail formulas I could find, that puts "average" rate at at least 7%. But we know it wasn't 7% all along, that means it must have spiked at some point. But the official data https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet, they seem to be telling us that everything is just fine. I know for certain my wages haven't kept up anywhere near the rate of increase of anything with USA labor in it. Household repairs, medical procedures, car repairs, you name it, all that stuff has gone up many times the rate of our wage increase.

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    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    .... the official data https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet, they seem to be telling us that everything is just fine. I know for certain my wages haven't kept up anywhere near the rate of increase of anything with USA labor in it. Household repairs, medical procedures, car repairs, you name it, all that stuff has gone up many times the rate of our wage increase.
    The official figures are fudged, and get continuously re-fudged regularly to produce the data the government want. The published rates of inflation bear almost no resemblance to the rate the average Joe experiences.

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    This is a summary of the best explanation I've ever heard...
    In ancient Rome, a 1-oz gold coin would buy a fine shirt, a pair of sandals, and a nice leather belt.
    Today, a 1-oz gold coin will buy you a fairly nice suit, a nice pair of shoes, and a nice leather belt.
    The REAL price of those items hasn't risen in 2000 years, when discussed in terms of tangible money that has intrinsic value.

    So yes, the price of gold/silver/other may fluctuate, but it's never cost a wheelbarrow full of gold coins to buy a single liaf of bread... All that said, I'll be danged if I can buy a single 1-oz gold coin... Usually my currency is plastic!

    Justin

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickb View Post
    The official figures are fudged, and get continuously re-fudged regularly to produce the data the government want. The published rates of inflation bear almost no resemblance to the rate the average Joe experiences.
    ^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^ THIS^^^^^ THIS^^^^^
    Any reporting you hear about how it's going, keep this in mind. Always.

    Justin

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    You can't just take a few things and decide what inflation is. I may have raised my shop labor rate from $45 to $60 at some point. But then I am ignoring that gasoline used to be $4 a gallon and now it is a little over $2. Over ten years I will spend a lot more on loaves of bread than on water wells. COntext is everything.

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    This is an example a friend gave me. Edy's ice cream was $1.99 retail for 64oz in year 2000 and it's $4.99 for 48oz today. That breaks down as price inflation of 330% (5/2*1.33) over 18 years. That's pretty close to 10% a year. Using common items like food produced in your native country is a good way to measure because it takes out any labor differences. You could argue that Edy's has gained some notoriety and price discretion (higher demand) but they have to compete with other ice cream.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    And other foods have gone down. Ice cream costs everyone roughly the same to produce. If Edys decides to compete with Hagen Dasz instead of the store brands, they will raise their prices. There is a story of some restaurant who put a tasty new dessert on the menu at $2, and almost no one ordered it. So they made a fancy photo of the same dessert and put an $8 price tag on it, and now they can't keep up with demand. I can buy a 48 ounce pack of ice cream in my local store brand (Meijer) for $2.49, I can buy a pint (16 oz.) of Ben and Jerry's about $5.

    Statistics do not apply to individuals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickb View Post
    The official figures are fudged, and get continuously re-fudged regularly to produce the data the government want. The published rates of inflation bear almost no resemblance to the rate the average Joe experiences.
    This is one of the points of pain in the topic. We're middle class, maybe a bit below middle of the middle. Met with an investment advisor a few years back. Very sincere guy I think. Looking back, maybe was trying to convince us to keep our few dollars in savings at his firm. Anyway, he says "Overall you're looking good for retirement in X years...". The conversation turned to inflation, I asked him about inflation, and the current rate of return, which I said was drastically below the current stated inflation. he had the blank 'deer in headlights' look, and said "Well, inflation is 3 to 4% so ....", then went on with his little calculator to show us what returns we'd need to afford to retire. Akkk. I don't see it. And he also pulled the 'standard' 100 year average S&P 500 rate of return of 8% and said 'you're fine' again. I told him, we never, in our adult investing lives, have gotten 8% average on anything. Never. ... deer in the headlights again....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    You can't just take a few things and decide what inflation is. I may have raised my shop labor rate from $45 to $60 at some point. But then I am ignoring that gasoline used to be $4 a gallon and now it is a little over $2. Over ten years I will spend a lot more on loaves of bread than on water wells. COntext is everything.
    Agreed, Enzo! But, look at big ticket items for most people. Cost of a full round of chemo. Replace siding on their house. etc. Major things seem to go up far in excess of stated inflation rates. There's all this 'substitution' and 'hedonics' stuff going on.

    So, if I have my $10.00 savings account, and I wanted it to grow faster 'than inflation', where would I get a more realistic number for comsumer price index than ... CPI?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmaslin View Post
    This is an example a friend gave me. Edy's ice cream was $1.99 retail for 64oz in year 2000 and it's $4.99 for 48oz today. That breaks down as price inflation of 330% (5/2*1.33) over 18 years. That's pretty close to 10% a year. Using common items like food produced in your native country is a good way to measure because it takes out any labor differences. You could argue that Edy's has gained some notoriety and price discretion (higher demand) but they have to compete with other ice cream.
    I tried to do something like that: go back exactly 10 and exactly 20 years, download all those newspaper circulars and compare prices for very similar things. I couldn't do it. The internet is loaded to the hilt with data, but seems extremely difficult to find specific prices for specific things, unless its by acccident (like someone has a photograph of a circuilar from some newspaper). Someone must have this data!!!

    Anyway, what I seem to be finding is that inflation comes in big lumps. Its low for a long time, then blam, it hits you like someone on the 6th floor, whos bathroom broke down, has been using a 5 gallon bucket for toiletries, opened the window and dumped the bucket out, and you happened to be walking underneath.

    My brother is in the construction business. Around 2007 2008 I was talking to him about prices of construction materials, and he said around that time there was a rash, and its been oscillating since then more than previous years, of price increases. Many suppliers send notices, 8% here, 12% there, 9% for something else. None of that seemed to be reflected in the published CPI.

    Pain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    This is a summary of the best explanation I've ever heard...
    In ancient Rome, a 1-oz gold coin would buy a fine shirt, a pair of sandals, and a nice leather belt.
    Today, a 1-oz gold coin will buy you a fairly nice suit, a nice pair of shoes, and a nice leather belt.
    The REAL price of those items hasn't risen in 2000 years, when discussed in terms of tangible money that has intrinsic value.

    So yes, the price of gold/silver/other may fluctuate, but it's never cost a wheelbarrow full of gold coins to buy a single liaf of bread... All that said, I'll be danged if I can buy a single 1-oz gold coin... Usually my currency is plastic!

    Justin
    That doesn't give me the warm fuzzy feeling that my few dollars saved in USD for retirement is going to be worth what I need to buy stuff in the future. Great explanation, though. As much as our good, honest elected officials talk about how well things are going with their steady hand at the helm, they're not fixing anything and seems like have no intention to.

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    Hey Enzo, I shop for my two kids and I haven't seen any food go down in price. Give me my new shopping list

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    That doesn't give me the warm fuzzy feeling that my few dollars saved in USD for retirement is going to be worth what I need to buy stuff in the future. Great explanation, though. As much as our good, honest elected officials talk about how well things are going with their steady hand at the helm, they're not fixing anything and seems like have no intention to.
    They have no incentive to. The only way they are going to fix the national debt is to inflate it away. Your cash will be almost worthless as your wealth will have been transferred away to pay off the debt ( without your consent of course). This will be justified in their view as the government is being repaid for services already provided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    where would I get a more realistic number for comsumer price index than ... CPI?
    Here http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate...flation-charts

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    As much as our good, honest elected officials...
    Unless you're being sarcastic here, I think I found the root of your problem...

    Remember: most of them are fed the same garbage numbers we are.

    Another example I heard, based on my own personal taks with friends: married couple, one an economics professor, the other a CPA. Economics Prof says, it's perfectly okay for a nation to carry a debt equal to or a bit larger than its GDP. They can always just muster the entirety of the GDP to pay off theor debts if called in.
    The accountant says, no way in hellwould I advise amy of my clients who make $100k, or $250k, or $1M/yr to carry.a dent equal to or a bit geeater than theor annual salary! Because debt payments are ON TOP OF regular expwnses, and there's no room for emergencies! A nation's economy ia subject to the same kinds of disastwrs amd and unexpected losses as a person is.

    I tend to lean towards the accountant's view - they deal in facts and practical realities, instead of theories.

    Justin

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I just bought milk the other day, it was $1.29 a gallon. A couple three years ago, milk cost more than gasoline. Pushing $4 a gallon. Fruit has been coming in from around the world, so I can find grapes for 99 cents a pound all the time, whereas some time ago, "off season" grapes cost a ton.

    Look at marketing, it is a powerful influence on pricing. I have a low income, I buy nothing that isn't on sale. English muffins: $3.99 a pack. But they are on sale three weeks out of four. Sometimes buy one get one free, sometimes an even dollar. I buy them at a dollar. When one brand is off sale, another is on. SO even though the "price" is up to $4, there is always a brand on sale for $2 or less. I believe they raise the price to the $4 level just to make room for a big sale "discount" to lure consumers. Yes, there are people like my sister who never even look at price. But many of us shop sale prices. So if you look at the "price" muffins are way up. If you look at what we spend on them, they are not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    But many of us shop sale prices.
    A few years back, J.C. Penney tried a 'no sale discount' marketing strategy. Didn't work. Even though their margin was the same, and people could get their products for a reasonable price, people didn't shop at Penny's because there were no sale prices to be had. I believe it's possible to save money by couponing and watching for sales. But in the long run, market price is what it is. The coupons give us a deal sometimes, but much of the time it is simply returning an arbitrarily-inflated price to a normalized one. Kind of a ritualized "haggling" behavior?

    Many of us fall victim to to buying something we wouldn't normally have, simply because we have coupon in hand. Harbor Freight is good at making that strategy work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I just bought milk the other day, it was $1.29 a gallon. A couple three years ago, milk cost more than gasoline. Pushing $4 a gallon. Fruit has been coming in from around the world, so I can find grapes for 99 cents a pound all the time, whereas some time ago, "off season" grapes cost a ton.

    Look at marketing, it is a powerful influence on pricing. I have a low income, I buy nothing that isn't on sale. English muffins: $3.99 a pack. But they are on sale three weeks out of four. Sometimes buy one get one free, sometimes an even dollar. I buy them at a dollar. When one brand is off sale, another is on. SO even though the "price" is up to $4, there is always a brand on sale for $2 or less. I believe they raise the price to the $4 level just to make room for a big sale "discount" to lure consumers. Yes, there are people like my sister who never even look at price. But many of us shop sale prices. So if you look at the "price" muffins are way up. If you look at what we spend on them, they are not.
    nosaj
    Must be those canadien cows, here in Florida we pay 3.39 to 4 a gallon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    A few years back, J.C. Penney tried a 'no sale discount' marketing strategy. Didn't work. Even though their margin was the same, and people could get their products for a reasonable price, people didn't shop at Penny's because there were no sale prices to be had. I believe it's possible to save money by couponing and watching for sales. But in the long run, market price is what it is. The coupons give us a deal sometimes, but much of the time it is simply returning an arbitrarily-inflated price to a normalized one. Kind of a ritualized "haggling" behavior?

    Many of us fall victim to to buying something we wouldn't normally have, simply because we have coupon in hand. Harbor Freight is good at making that strategy work.
    Yeah, I'll reach for a grocery item because it's marked down and the wife will say it's less at some other store. How she keeps all that straight and up to date is beyond me.

    We were in line to check out a drywall lift @ Harbor Freight and another customer hands her a coupon for fifty bucks off. And I don't know how many of those free digital multimeters I've ended up with. The Fluke stays in the house, but the cheap ones are good enough for the vehicles and equipment.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Whenever I go to Harbor Freight to buy something, I ALWAYS grab a free item. But so far I have yet to make a trip over there just to get a coupon item on its own.

    Yes, Penney fell flat on their faces with that. Sears had things on sale all the time, generally 15% off, though they rarely spelled out the percentage.

    I have two of the free HF multimeters right here in my living room at the moment.

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    I'm with nosaj, the only way you'll find milk below $3.50 a gallon is if it's tomorrow's expiration date. In my example, I said imports aren't good to use as inflation guides because of labor differences but if wages keep lagging inflation, REAL INFLATION, not the bogus numbers the news reports, we'll be matching them eventually. I think I remember grapes being under $0.69/lb circa 2000 and that was when migrant farmers had some union victories and wages exploded. The global fruit companies straightened that out now and the workers are impoverished again. The result? We get grapes for only $0.99/lb on sale today. Where did the difference go?

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Fresh milk at my local store is $1.29 to $1.69, week in, week out. It is perfectly good store brand milk, from local dairies, and has the common 10 days or whatever expiration period.

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