Workarounds’ Galore – How Real Americans Deal with ‘Real’ Inflation
The comments below are an edited and abridged synopsis of an article by Charles Hugh Smith
It’s the list of workarounds—always growing, never shrinking—that tells the true story of inflation in America. Smith offers up a guest post by Bill Rice Jr. on real inflation, which far exceeds the official inflation rate of 2%.
While working on a story on inflation and shrinkflation, Rice zeroed in on the concept of workarounds as an alternative way to gauge the true state of the US economy. Workarounds occur as individuals, families or businesses make changes in their lives in order to adapt to a world of rising prices. These examples challenge the conventional wisdom that inflation is low or contained, or that the economy is doing well.
As decades have passed, the list of workarounds families have used to deal with rising prices has expanded.
Women entering the workforce in massive numbers—the disappearance the family, where one income was sufficient to maintain a constant standard of living—might be the earliest and most important workaround on the list. Other trends from this growing list include:
Shoppers switching to less expensive stores or brands; families substituting hamburger or chicken for steak; buying from value menus; couponing; shopping at discount or dollar stores more often; buying in bulk to get the lowest per-unit cost; buying more items at yard sales or from Internet swap meets; cancelling the land line; getting fewer haircuts per year; taking clothes to the dry cleaners less often; cutting out or cutting down the maid service; attending sporting events less often; going to the movies less often; playing golf or hunting less often; dropping out of country clubs and civic clubs; going to the dentist less often; and cancelling newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
The list goes on, and Rice discusses it within.