Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inflation: A Personal Narrative (Robert Klassen)

Robert Klassen on the insidious nature of inflation:

Federal Reserve inflation policy stole 90% of the purchasing power of my lifetime income from work. I would like to examine that in detail.

In 1959 I graduated from high school earning $0.90 per hour as a tractor driver. Various unskilled labor jobs paid the same through college. In 1963 I got an entry level hospital job that paid $1.25. Although I was not particularly interested in medicine, by 1970 I was earning $8.50 as a therapist. Was I living better?

My fifty bucks a week in 1963 allowed me to buy a new VW bug, a new mobile home, and two acres of land. I lost it all in a divorce. I don’t blame the Fed for that. But by 1969, my three-forty a week could barely pay the rent, utilities, and put food on the table. Inflation crept up on me so quietly that I didn’t know it. Then came the ‘70s.

I admit that I wasn’t paying attention to the big picture, so I was startled when prices for cars and gas and food shot up. There was enough delay in real estate inflation that I could buy a house, but my income was clearly not keeping up.

Read the rest

No comments: