The minimum wage is only the most visible portion of what quickly amounts to a vast array of considerable, often unseen costs.
Cost of Living
It’s not at all surprising that with the highly politicized environment of the US, with ever more controls, more people are looking for new ways to live a peaceful life. It only takes one visit to a paradise like St. Kitts to get the mind turning toward dreams of a new start, a life of peace and quiet. I completely get it. I was only in St. Kitts for three days and now I understand completely.
If we had a genuine free market in food – and the market is doing its best with the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods – we would also likely see a greater alignment between what is affordable and what is actually good food for human consumption. It would be nice at least to be able to test this, starting with an end to the farm program.
Americans’ cost of living fell relative to their earnings on average in 2016. Even though inflation ticked slightly upward, average wages grew faster. The Consumer Price Index, which measures price changes in goods and services, rose 1.7 percent. That was still low in historical terms but the second highest annual increase in the past five years. But the 2.9 percent increase in average wages was the largest wage gain over that five-year period.
With energy prices and a strong dollar keeping inflation low, the average American’s cost of living did not rise in 2015 and in fact fell relative to wages. As this research brief shows, however, some Americans are spending large amounts on services such as education and health care and have seen their cost of living continue to rise.
Economic Education Bulletin
Vol. XXIX, no. 11 | November, 1989
by the Editorial Staff