Things Don't Cost What They Used To: 10 Major Price Shifts in 2010

From corn to gold, these 10 common goods and commodities had major price changes in 2010 — and may continue to shift in 2011.

All About Deflation

Deflation is back in the news, and for good reason: It's a real risk.  

Can a Little Inflation Be Good?

Let me jump to the end and say right at the start that I don't think so. However, there's a serious argument being made right now among economists and economic policy makers that h

Watch Out for Surge in CPI

Just to be clear, I'm also worried about a surge in inflation, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I don't know the future, so I try to stay away from predictions. But yo

Oh noes! Inflation!

The Wall Street Journal has an opinion piece by Arthur Laffer that shows a scary graph of the monetary base, which has surged enormously in the past year. He suggests that this is

Don't let low interest rates make you stupid

When I went off to college in 1977, inflation was high and rising, but the maximum interest rate you could earn on a savings account was capped by the government at a fraction over


Stagflation, the bane of the 1970s, is pretty much the worst situation for ordinary folks. With the economy depressed, jobs are scarce for workers and profits are scarce for busin

New rate set for series I savings bonds

Every six months, the Treasury sets a new fixed rate for series I savings bonds. After tracking close to the rate on the Treasury's other inflation-indexed bonds during the Clinto

Inflation is going away for a while

For a decade, starting in the mid-1990s, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates too low and expanded the money supply too quickly. Their theory was that, as long as consumer pric

Shadow Government Statistics - Is the government manipulating numbers to make the economy look better than it really is?

About a year ago I wrote an article about the Consumer Price Index that made some friends say that I am a conspiracy theorist, but apparently I am not alone in believing that the g

Why save during an inflation?

You can always tell when inflation has become ingrained in an economy--you start hearing people say, "Buy now before the price goes up!" I remember hearing that a lot in the late

Will high inflation persist?

Every financial calculation that you make is influenced by your expectations for future inflation: how much to borrow, where to put your savings, and whether your last raise was a

Debasing not just the currency

I eat lunch at a local fast-food place occasionally. My usual order runs to just over $4, so I was annoyed when I realized while walking over there yesterday that I'd forgotten to

I Bond rates go to zero

Since 1998, the US Treasury has had a pretty good deal for small savers who were worried about inflation--the Series I Savings Bond.  The interest it paid was based on inflation pl

Budgeting in a time of inflation

My very first experience running a household was in 1980, just as the last big inflation was spiking up over 10%.  My carefully constructed budget was completely destroyed by price

A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)

After the recent interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve many of my bank and money market interest rates plummeted.  Now the best yield I have is on my Series I Savings Bonds iss

More than just inflation

With prices up, price statistics that look preposterous to anyone who shops, and the Fed trying to thread the needle of preventing a recession without letting inflation run out of

How to live with inflation

Of the various ills the economy can face, inflation is simultaneously the worst for society as a whole, and yet the easiest for individuals to deal with successfully. The strategi

Roll your own cost-of-living index

If you have a budget--more specifically, if you track your spending--you have the data you need to track changes in your own personal cost of living. That's a lot more useful

The core rate is not an evil conspiracy

The Consumer Price Index was released today, showing prices were up 0.3% last month and up 2.8% from a year ago. The same report also includes the so-called core rate, which exclu