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Why does it cost so much money to pay for the basics of a normal life, let alone a middle class lifestyle?
The answer involves deadly dull numbers, a tiptoe through the tulips of political rationalization, and a date with inexorable financial destiny.
Our tiptoe begins with the fact that today’s dollar does not buy what a dollar used to buy. This loss of buying power is called “inflation.”
Inflation means that money stored in a bank, a CD or a treasury note loses buying power every day it does not earn enough interest to offset the loss due to inflation.
Different things have different inflation rates. The price of beets goes up slower than the price of gold.
So how does anyone know what is the “overall” inflation rate?
Well, inflation also means the dollar is weakening year to year. To find out how much, you could look at the price of gold. Gold cost $1,535 per ounce on April 28, 2011. A year earlier, gold cost $1,170. Five years ago, it cost about $650. And 10 years ago, an ounce cost $280.
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