Editorial: Do incomes ever keep up with inflation?

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Yes, I remembered the list my friend Billy Shelton brought into the office the other day, one that showcased the inflation based on the consumer price index from 2009 to 2013 for everyday household items.

He wrote back then: “This comparison shows me that inflation is much higher than our government indicates. It is now harder for people to feed themselves and their families.”

The same goes true for today, he says.

And he provided the following update to his list:

Item 2009 2013 2024

Apples $1.57 $1.87 $1.99

Frozen Pizza (30 oz.) $4.75 $4.98 $10.00

Cool Whip (8 oz.) $1.26 $1.53 $2.99

Lemons (each) $.38 $.44 $.80

Salad Dressing $3.68 $2.88 $3.99

Baking Potatoes (lb.) $1.28 $.94 $.99

Onions (lb.) $.98 $1.14 $1.69

Tomatoes (lb.) $1.98 $1.58 $2.99

Strawberries (lb.) $2.98 $2.98 $3.99

Bananas (lb.) $.62 $.54 $.55

Breyer’s Ice Cream $3.50 $3.87 $6.99

Klondike Bars $3.67 $3.25 $5.99

Stouffer’s Mac&Cheese $1.98 $2.24 $3.53

Nature’s Own Bread $1.89 $2.88 $4.29

Merita Hamburger Buns $2.33 $2.48 $3.99

Merita Hotdog Buns $1.78 $2.48 $3.99

Jiff Peanut Butter $3.68 $3.98 $3.49

Lipton Tea Bags $6.12 $6.57 $5.49

Oreo’s (18 oz.) $2.50 $2.98 $5.69

Tostitos Dip (15 oz.) $2.50 $3.98 $4.09

Raisin Bran (20 oz.) $2.62 $2.98 $6.50

Sierra Mist (6 pack) $2.08 $3.33 $6.99

Tide Ultra (75 oz.) $8.94 $9.97 $10.00

Dawn Dish Detergent $2.25 $2.87 $5.00

Bounty Paper Towels $8.07 $9.48 $12.00

Thank you, Mr. Shelton, for updating this list. These things are always interesting to look at, but pretty much already known by anyone who shops for groceries.

I, too, often wonder how politicians can brag about such inflation rates being under control when most of us are making the same amount of money, or aren’t getting increases that come anywhere close to matching the rate of inflation. Even those lucky enough to get those inflation-level pay increases (Why didn’t I get a job with the government way back when?) are likely paying more out of pocket for health coverage at the same time. For most regular folks out here trying to making a living and raise families, they’re going backwards or at the best, staying the same.

I don’t have the answer here. But I do know it has very little to do with whichever political party happens to be in power at the time. Both of those parties will try to make you think that if you vote for them that your financial life will be better. They’ll even try to scare the bejesus out of you with stories about folks on the other side of the political aisle.


It ain’t so.

But in the meantime, we can have fun with lists like Mr.  Shelton provided. I think one of his points is to take these government reports with a grain of salt. While true when presented certain facts, those reports may not look at the whole picture.

– Mike Barnhardt