Interesting statistics are available online for those who want accurate reporting. For the blog, I use a 'rule of five' as a simple math rationale to help me measure the status quo. Is my personal gain ahead or behind where I used to be? Is there any money left over at the end of the week?
Basically, in 1970 minimum wage was $1.65/hr and $7.10 in 2012. The rule of five says it should be $8.25.
In 1970 gas cost .35/gallon and 3.50/gallon in July 2012. The rule of five says it should be $1.75. The oil crisis's did a number on the rule of five.
A house cost 26,500 in 1970 and $300,000 in 2006. Then the crunch. If your salary was below $100,000/yr you had no business buying a $300,000 home. No matter what deal was dangled in front of you, the mortgage was unrepayable. 2012 prices are $150.000 and closer to the rule of five. If you are a minimum wage earner, the American Dream is not for you.
According to the rule, I should not be complaining even if my home has the same value it did twenty years ago.
I'll leave oil prices alone right now and skip to the chase. Useful indicators used to register inflation as flat, do not meet reality. The rule of five takes a whack on food, utilities, insurance, health care, entertainment, communication and soft goods. Try to get along without these items.
In the last decade, we have been saturated with fees and fines if we don't. I can't think of a service that does not have a license, customer fee, a policy without a healthy deductible and co-pay, early termination fees and hysterical entertainment price increases. In 1970 Disney had free parking and a $6.00 gate price. We are well past the E-Ticket rides, but the lines aren't any shorter for $89 a visit.
It's time to outsource American greed!