I’ve been arguing for years that food isn’t as affected by inflation as it is the commodity market swing. I saw this poster on facebook this week and I think it proves my point:
For simplicity’s sake, let’s pretend inflation has driven everything 10x’s higher. By moving the decimal point on place to the right you would see that:
A new house = $119, 750
The average income = $46,500
A new car = $21,550
Rent = $950
Tuition to Harvard = $10,000 (Nope, it’s $43,938 source)
A movie ticket = $10
Gasoline = $2.40
Postage = $.40
These numbers are rough, but fairly close. (Except the tuition thing, and gasoline is a commodity so the fact that it worked in this formula is coincidence.)
But apply the same formula to food:
Sugar $8.90 for 10 lbs — um, no. It’s closer to $3
Vitamin D milk $10 a gallon — nope, $4
Coffee $9.30 a lb — We don’t drink coffee, so I’m not sure but amazon sells Folgers for $7 a lb
Bacon $6.20 a lb — nope, $3
Eggs $2.80 a dozen — sometimes, but they go on sale for $1
Hamburger $5.70 a lb — closer to $3
Fresh baked bread $1.90 — nope more like $5
Think about it. We have way more spending power when it comes to food, than our 1957 counterparts did. Then why were they able to easily maintain a single income family and still feed their families well?
I think it comes down to two things:
1. Thrift and home economics were valued by society. Think Leave it to Beaver. Today these qualities are portrayed negatively by mass media. And why not? The less thrifty they make us, the more money they can get from us.
2. They used more pure commodity ingredients such as eggs, milk and flour. With both spouses working and a plethora of kid actives, we tend to gravitate more towards pre-made ingredients and convenience foods just to survive.
What do you think?