Inflation “Walloping” Everyday Americans

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For those of you who don’t get the WaPo delivered every day and didn’t see this morning’s front page:

Inflation is walloping Americans with low and moderate incomes as the prices of staples have soared far faster than those of luxuries.

Check it out, after the jump…

The goods and services Americans consumed in February were 4 percent more expensive than they were a year earlier. But there is a big divide in how much prices are climbing between the basic items people need to live and get to work, and those on which they can easily cut back when times are tight.

An analysis of government data by The Washington Post found that prices have risen 9.2 percent since 2006 for the groceries, gasoline, health care and other basics that a middle-income American family has little choice but to consume. That would cost such a family, which made $45,000 on average in 2006, an extra $972 per year, assuming it did not buy less of such items because of higher prices. For a broad range of goods on which it is easier to scrimp — such as restaurant meals, alcoholic beverages, new cars, furniture, and clothing — prices have risen 2.4 percent.

A standard middle income family is spending $378 more on gasoline than it did two years ago, and $253 more on groceries. The Post notes, “in 2006, the top 20 percent of households by income spent about twice as much on staples as households in the lower-middle bracket. But the top-earning families had almost six times as much income.” This isn’t news to Mother Jones. We’ve chronicled how the rich get richer and poor get dinged at every turn.

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