Patients' hospital expenses have nearly doubled in the past decade. So, too, has the price of college textbooks. And gas prices have more than doubled, while prices of fuel oil and other fuels for home use have climbed a whopping 145%.
It's been a tough decade on the wallet, thanks to inflation.
The figures are based on a Yahoo! Finance analysis of items and services tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index.
And the CPI, of course, is based on government stats which, as Money Morning has reported, routinely understate inflation.
Here are 8 reasons why inflation is pinching you, no matter what the Fed says about low inflation:
- Fuel oil and other fuels for home use (up 145%); gas (up 108%): Crude oil prices have soared in the past decade and hit a record high in 2008. That, in turn, has played a major role in increasing prices for gas and fuel oil.
Demand for crude from emerging economies including China and India has grown markedly while there have been only modest gains in the amount of crude produced worldwide, James D. Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, told Yahoo! Finance. "That imbalance drove up the price of crude oil, and with it the cost Americans pay for products like gasoline and heating oil," he said.
- Hospital services (up 85%): The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines hospital services as expenses covered by health insurance and billed by a hospital for accommodation, inpatient and outpatient services.
But while prices have climbed, you're getting more for the money, says David Parsley, an economics and finance professor at Vanderbilt University. He told Yahoo! Finance the prices have soared largely because hospital diagnoses, treatment and equipment have improved dramatically in the past 10 years.
- College textbooks (up 83%): This has become a racket that preys on college students, many of whom are already drowning in student loan debt. It's just the latest outrageous increase in textbook prices. They rose 812% from 1978-2012, according to Mark J. Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, Flint, and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Perry notes some college textbooks now go for as much as $300.
- Beef and veal (up 64.8%); eggs (up 58%): We can blame these increases in food prices largely on the price of feed grain, says Michael J. Roberts, an associate professor of economics at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Roberts told Yahoo! Finance the rising feed grain prices stem from ethanol fuel subsidies, demand for meat from emerging economies, bad weather and population growth. Another factor in increasing beef prices: the drought of 2011 and 2012, which destroyed supplies of grass and water used to feed cattle.
- Veterinary services (up 63%): Little wonder it costs more to take your pet to the vet, what with pets now getting ultrasounds, chemotherapy and orthopedic and neurological procedures. Such advanced care has driven up costs, including fees for specialists, Tom McPheron of the American Veterinary Medical Association told Yahoo! Finance. An increase in pet ownership also has contributed to the higher prices.
- Tax return preparation, other accounting fees (51%): The tax code keeps getting more complex, increasing the need for professional help, Roger Russell of Accounting Today told Yahoo! Finance.
[Editor's note: Tell us where you're feeling the pinch of rising prices the most in the comments section below.]
Related Articles and Links
- Money Morning:
The U.S. Lies About Inflation: Here's The Inflation Secret The Government Doesn't Want You to Know
- Money Morning:
The Best Ways to Profit from Food Inflation
- Yahoo! Finance:
10 Items Whose Prices Have Jumped the Most in the Past 10 Years
The college textbook bubble and how the "open educational resources" movement is going up against the textbook cartel
- Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Consumer Price Index
- Shadow Government Statistics:
Public Comment on Inflation Measurement and the Chained CPI