AIER Everyday Price Index
The most widely quoted official estimate, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), puts the 2011 inflation rate at 3.1 percent. That’s because the CPI uses a different array of goods and services to calculate the average annual percentage change in the cost of living.

The Everyday Price Index includes only the prices of goods and services that the average consumer purchases at least once a month.

The index includes food and beverages, household energy products and services, other utilities, motor fuel, prescription drugs, child care fees, phone services, personal care products, and other goods and services purchased on a regular basis.  Have a look:
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Peter Bromberg (Wrong is Right)'s profile photoTessa Schlesinger's profile photoAndreas Schou's profile photoJeffrey Hamby's profile photo
35 comments
 
Other than trying to fool people I have no idea what use there is for the CPI.

I actually didn't know a more realistic index existed though, so thank you for the share.
 
Jeffrey Hamby, I agree. I don't care if the price of a Rolls Royce didn't escalate at all. It's the rapid rise of things we need on a daily basis that concern me.
 
This is why I've never purchased "Inflation adjusted US Bonds."  The CPI is a joke.
 
Yup.  Food, gas, shelter, and of course beer :)
 
Education has risen (especially undergraduate) to an unaffordable height.  All this is largely due to government grants which eliminated the student's choice based on price.  It also increased demand over time.  Now schools are suffering because they overexpanded and applicants are down (now these universities are pursuing foreign students with great energy).  
Can we sustain our brightest children not getting advance education while other countries tap into our system?  I would say not.
This is going to get uglier before it gets better.  My recommendation?  Encourage your kids to learn as much as they can on their own.  Education can't be taken from you.
 
Jack C Crawford, absolutely right! And there are an increasing number of free courses offered by Stanford, Harvard, etc.
 
+Tessa Schlesinger We can take our lives back.  The system isn't our best friend. (I appreciate highway speed limits and truck inspection laws, but this theft of our resources has to end).
 
Jack C Crawford. Absolutely. But what we do. As you (I hope) have noticed, I write as an activist, constantly trying to motivate people to see what is happening. But I'm pretty much preaching to the converted. Still, I carry on, because you never know. Maybe, somewhere it will do some good.
 
Don't forget MIT Open Courseware.  That's been around for years.

When I was a hiring manager (I'm back to writing software, way more fun) I had a fascinating conversation with a developer who'd "completed" their computer science courses.  Guess who got hired?
 
Peter Bromberg, I agree that the government doesn't have any money of itself. On the other hand, I don't agree with the government spending what money there is on war. Ergo, to me, Romney is not a suitable candidate. He will bomb Iran. I think.
 
+Tessa Schlesinger We really don't have many choices. As I see it, exactly two. And I've had enough of the Keynesians. I hope we don't bomb Iran, but if we have to I'd rather have Romney at the helm than Obama. Obama would bomb too, but he'd screw it up in some way for sure.
 
Jeffrey Hamby and Peter Bromberg, well, I wrote my article on how to govern a country because I think government should stick strictly to administration and not to ideology. I think both parties are guilty of ideology. Thankfully, I cannot vote because I am not an American national so I'm out of it. 
 
That's what keeps me in the libertarian camp.
 
+Tessa Schlesinger I agre right up to the point about making sure people have 300 sq ft etc.  I believe that's up to people themselves, not government.
 
Jeffrey Hamby, I understand where you are coming from, but it's government's job to keep people safe, and we've already stepped beyond over population. That is going to get worse and worse. Unless we want another French revolution or Russian revolution, there has to be a system that enables some to have more than others - within reason, but not so that the poor start a vicious class war. History repeats itself. "Those that will not heed the events of history are bound to repeat them."
 
I'm not so sure about overpopulation when it comes to crowding.  I live in a town of 50,000 outside Houston, and am less than 10 miles from vast acreage where people tend to live on 5-100 acres of land.  It's still within a decent commute of downtown Houston as well.

Of course, the AIER CPI will show you that the commute is considerably more expensive than it used to be, but for a large number of jobs that's where high speed internet takes over.

I could do my job from anywhere in the world as long as I have some bandwidth. 
 
By the way, some of the items on that page such as Each household to have some means of producing its own basic food needs, be they hydroponic or otherwise could be done by removing silly regulations.
 
Jeffrey Hamby, you are absolutely right. I totally believe that everybody has the means to support themselves if only the government will get rid of some stupid regulation. Some regulation is necessary, but some isn't.
 
Why is this number incredibly disproportionately weighted toward gas prices? What could possibly justify that? With about 30% made up of fuel, the most volatile number in the index, this is essentially just a "fuel + stuff" index. 
 
Note that I'm not simply being dense or combative -- this is just an extremely peculiar methodological choice, and I have no idea what justifies it. Certainly not the percentage of household income which the average consumer spends on fuel.
 
+Jeffrey Hamby Household fuel + motor fuel is just over 35%. 

Oh. So... they just took the CPI, stripped out the categories they considered irrelevant, and then expanded the remaining categories to fit. 
 
Oh I get it, you added home use to transportation.  That's pretty reasonable to me and lines up well with my experience.
 
They've also added tobacoo products at 2.32% even though for many people that number is 0.00%.

It's average expenditures.
 
+Jeffrey Hamby Yeah. That 35% looked insane to me, but I live in mixed-use small-urban, about two blocks from downtown. It may look very different for sub- or exurban consumers.
 
+Andreas Schou yeah, so you have the benefit of a short commute... one I'd love to have but I prefer suburbia so I pay my toll.

Of course that suggests there are people that pay considerably more than 20% for their transportation costs.  I'd hate to be in their shoes.

Oops, then it hit me.  I know quite a few people that fly weekly for their jobs.  Perhaps that's taken into consideration.
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