Price Inflation

What is Inflation?

"Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money, than in output." - Milton Friedman

How is Inflation Calculated?  As inflation rises, every dollar, decreases in value. 

For example, if the inflation rate is 2% a year, then a $1.00 pack of gum bought at the beginning of the year will cost $1.02 by the end of that year.

The Inflation Page explains and discusses what causes inflation and how it affects the markets.

rising chart

For many, the easiest way to understand "What inflation is" and how it effects each of us, is to see it, by witnessing it in our everyday lives. 

The Charts below, are a Visualization of how over the last 40 years or more, "Price Inflation" has affected all of us in one way or another.

Inflation Patterns

There are general patterns you will recognize as you view these charts, below are a few questions you may ask yourself as you view them.

  • When does Inflation in these Charts really start to materialize?(Hint: watch the lack of price movement before the 1970's, compared to after the decade)
  • What is really happening in all of these charts?...Milton Friedman eluded to it in his quote.

*Important Note: The prices displayed on all of these Charts are calculated with the average price paid in the United States and are not specific to any brand or region of the United States.

Median Income Chart

The first chart is the average increase in Median Income, over the past 70 years, in the United States.

Most of the info was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau and is based on the average income for a U.S. citizen during the decade indicated. The chart practically explains the rest of the charts below it and how the price of the items we purchase has effected our lives.

price inflation median income


Milk Price Chart

The next area of interest that effect us all is; what we eat. The next two charts are based on the prices of Bread and Milk.

The Milk price below is based on the price of One Gallon of Fortified Whole Milk.

price inflation milk price


Bread Price Chart

The Bread Price Chart below is the example of the average purchasing price of a 1lb. Loaf of Plain White Bread, in the United States.

price inflation bread price


econmagic - U.S. city average; White bread

Thanksgiving Dinner

For the American Farm Bureau Federation's "Cost of Thanksgiving" survey was first conducted in 1986.

The Survey is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. However, to allow for consistent price comparisons, the Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged, since 1986.

cost of thanksgiving dinner


American Farm Bureau Federation Survey

New Home Price Chart

The Prices in this chart are based on the average cost of a New Home built in the United States.

new home price chart


New Car Price Chart

The averages in the New Car prices shown in the Chart below where taken from New Sports cars, Luxury Car prices, New Mid-sized and New Compact Cars sold in the US.

price inflation new car price


Road-Reality 2009-2010 graphic

Edmund's - Report Sheds Light on Vehicle-Shopping Trends - 2013

Gas Price Chart

Between 1950 and 1975, the average gas prices are based on a gallon of Regular Leaded Gas.  From 1976 to the Present Day, the average gas prices based on a gallon of Regular Unleaded Gas Prices.

price inflation gas price


College Tuition

Higher Education has witnessed some of the highest rates of inflation over the years in comparison to other services and commodities.  

Below are two charts concerning the rising prices of College Tuition. 

Charts are based upon the average undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board rates charged for full-time students in degree granting institutions.

Public College

price inflation public college costs


National Center for Education Statistics : Table 349, column 5

Private College

price inflation private college costs


National Center for Education Statistics : Table 349, column 5

Health Care

The ACA (Affordable Health Care Act, Obamacare) is not averaged into the charts below, however taking the free market out of any industry and handing it over to the government, is not good for lowering prices.

In the next two charts, notice how much more Medicare has increased over the Private Market.  

Private Health Insurance

price inflation private health insurance costs


PDF : Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Serives, National Health Expenditures, Table 21


price inflation medicare costs

PDF : Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Serives, National Health Expenditures, Table 21

First Class Stamp Price Chart

The Prices for the Chart below, are based on the average price of one First Class U.S. Stamp.

price inflation first class stamp

www.johnstonsarchive - Cost of US First Class Stamp

Movie Price Chart

As with everything else around us, Entertainment Costs have increased in America, too.   The chart below represents the average increase in the price of a Movie Ticket over the last 100 years.

price inflation movie ticket price


Questions to the Patterns Answered

The patterns clearly come into focus in each of the following charts, the first is that after the 1970's, Price Inflation literally goes through the roof, compared to the years before the 70's.

One Key event happened in 1971, most often referred to as the "Nixon Shock," this was when President Richard Nixon said he would "temporarily" take the United States off the Gold Standard.

Nixon Ends Bretton Woods International Monetary System

This action by President Nixon meant that the United States Dollar was no longer backed by gold.  Enabling the United State's Federal Reserve to print money and continue to fill the governments Inflated Promises and Obligations.

Gold Price Chart

value of gold

The chart above represents the Price of Gold, in the last 45 years.

Does it look familiar? Very familiar compared to the prior eight charts; Don't you think?

inflation monster

The second re-occurring pattern that anyone can easily recognize is Not that the prices of everything around us has gone up.

The re-occurring pattern being shown in all of these charts is that the U.S. dollar, is loosing it's purchasing power.  The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar shows it stayed at generally constant rate until the early 1970's.

However, since the "Nixon's Shock" in 1971, the inflation monster has been creeping into our wallets, eating away at the value of our dollars.

The Charts reveal that Price Inflation has been shedding more and more pennies off our dollars, year over year.

All of the Charts above have one overwhelming thing in common, which is, items priced in a currency of expanding supply will constantly continue to lose its purchasing power. 

However, the same items priced in gold and other precious metals will help you preserved the value of your money and savings.

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