The REAL Inflation Rate? Alternative Measures Tell Different Story

November 19, 2013

What is the REAL inflation rate? 

Guest post by Dr. Ken Mayland,  ClearView Economics LLC

When we look at things that we actually buy, We get a different look at inflation...

When we look at things that we actually buy, we get a different look at inflation…

Measured inflation (the blue line) is quite low despite rampant money creation.  But is inflation being realistically measured? 

Perhaps the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac (the red line) would be a good price indicator.  A Big Mac incorporates wages, several commodities, rent, utilities, and transportation costs.  It costs have risen much faster than the official inflation rate.

Likewise, the PNC Christmas Price Index, (the green line) which costs out the items in the “12 Days of Christmas,” encompasses several different types of labor and commodity costs.  Again, those costs have increased considerably faster than the CPI (and interestingly, almost in line with the Big Mac Index).

If inflation is under-measured, then the “true” costs of living are being low-balled and our well -being is overstated.

Speaking of Precision:  Which any one on a fixed income can tell you is happening.

This is what we see when we go to purchase an item at the store for the same price, but get  less product.