When mainstream economists and politicians cite “improvements” to the inflation problem in the US in recent months, what they are commonly referencing are changes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, the CPI is not a measure of total inflation, rather, it is a median snapshot of prices at a particular point and time. True inflation is cumulative – A 10% increase one year and a 5% increase the next year is not a win, it means that you are now paying 15% more on average for everything you buy in the span of only two years.
When CPI falls this does not mean that prices on goods and services are going down, it only indicates that prices are rising slower than they were the month or the year before.
Another misconception about CPI is that it measures the inflation rate accurately for regular consumers on common purchases. In reality, the CPI represents mean average price rate increase for a vast basket of goods; over 94,000 items and services with over 200 separate categories. Most of these items and services you will never use or rarely purchase in the span of a year. In other words, inflation declines in uncommon goods can dilute the numbers, making it seem like inflation is dropping while prices on daily necessities continue to spike.
The CPI is weighted according to consumer spending patterns, which is where the calculations can be “adjusted” to a certain extent in an arbitrary manner. Then there is outright government manipulation through various means. As we witnessed recently with the Biden Administration's claims that “Bidenomics” has defeated the inflation threat, what these reports don't mention is that Biden has been dumping US strategic oil reserves on the market for the past year. And since energy prices effect the inflation of so many other categories, Biden has artificially manipulated the CPI down using one key resource.
Now that his ability to dump oil reserves has ended, CPI will rise once again along with energy prices.
The point is, it's impossible to get a sense of the real damage from inflation without looking at the cumulative inflation in necessities (the goods and services that people are required to purchase on a regular basis to live day to day). If we throw out the CPI distraction and look at common necessities since 2020, the economic picture is far more bleak.
Overall food prices have soared by 25%-30% in only three years (again, this means that you are now paying 30% more this year for food than you were paying at the beginning of 2020). Chicken is up from $3 per pound to $4 per pound. Beef is up from $3.50 to $6 per pound. Corn is up from $3.50 per pound to $4.70 per pound. Wheat is up from $5 per pound to $7 per pound. In 2019 the average American household was spending $8100 on food annually; with a 30% increase, in 2023 Americans will be spending at least $10,500 per household.
By the end of 2019, the average rental price of a single family home was around $1450 per month. This year the price is around $2000 per month. At the beginning of 2020, the median cost of a home was $320,000; by 2023 the price skyrocketed to an average of $416,000.
For gasoline, the price in early 2020 was around $2.50 per gallon. The price has fluctuated dramatically due to Biden's manipulation of the market using strategic reserves, but still remains high today at $3.80 per gallon.
The cost of electricity has risen swiftly, holding steady around .13 cents per kilowatt hour for a decade, then spiking to at least .17 cents per kilowatt hour by 2023.
Remember, most of these costs are static and are difficult to reduce through household spending cuts. These are not items that are easily removed from a monthly budget and the expenditures add up to considerable pressure on consumer accounts. This is probably why around 74% of the public in polls say that the economy is getting worse, not better. It's because government statistics are not highlighting the true inflationary crisis.
When we look at the cumulative climb of prices in necessities since before the inflation crisis officially began, the truth is that Americans now have to increase their wages by at least 25%-30% on average to maintain the same standard of living they had three years ago. This is a disaster not seen since the stagflationary event of the 1970s and early 1980s. If you have a strange feeling like your bank account is being rapidly drained in recent months, that's because it is.