It’s 1982!

How bad is the economy right now? It’s perilously close to Jimmy-Carter-presidency bad.

The stock market is tanking — big-time — and people who are getting their quarterly statements for their retirement funds are noticing a much smaller number on the bottom line.

It’s even worse than that suggests, however. The government reported today that inflation for June climbed 1.1% — the biggest jump since 1982.

The Web site, inflationdata.com charts the inflation rate from 1990. For 15 years, the rate trended down. From 2004, however, it’s increasing.

1982. Let’s take a quick trip back:

  • The Falklands War began. Never have so many, given so much for so few… sheep.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment falls short of the 38 states needed to be added to the Constitution.
  • The first CDs are released in Germany.
  • The Dow Jones closes at an all-time high of 1,065.49
  • The first U.S. execution via lethal injection is carried out. In Texas, of course.
  • AT&T is broken up into 22 companies.
  • Gasoline is $1.42
  • A loaf of bread costs 55 cents.
    • http://www.skyseastone.net/jvstin/ Paul

      Stagflation is an ugly word that we may all be (re)learning.

    • bsimon

      “Gasoline is $1.42

      A loaf of bread costs 55 cents.”

      That’s interesting. The price gap between bread & gas is now smaller.

    • http://n466pg.blogspot.com Daveg

      Contrarianism Alert!

      In 1982:

      - a personal computer cost?

      - an iPod cost?

      - a portable telephone cost?

      - the typical car burned how many gallons per mile?

      - a VCR cost?

      - an MRI exam cost?

      Call me “glass half full,” but I wouldn’t go back to 1982 if you gave me $5,000,000 to take with me.

    • Andy
    • Bob Collins

      /- a personal computer cost?

      /- an iPod cost?

      /- a portable telephone cost?

      One problem with inflation numbers is it projects out from a template. In other words, we didn’t have cellphones, or iPods or computers then (mostly).

      But, it seems to me, we introduce our own “inflation” by the accumulation of technology.

      For example, add up the cost of monthly stuff that we didn’t think we NEEDED in 1982,w hich we do now (but we really don’t).

      I’ll bet it’s a staggering number.

    • c

      We can survive without gas but not ‘bread’.

    • bsimon

      “We can survive without gas but not ‘bread’.”

      If that’s true, why are people complaining more about the increase in the price of gas than the price of bread?

    • Bob Collins

      //Save for the MRI, nothing on your list is a necessity

      I would disagree. That’s the point. What we consider “necessary” has changed. And that, more than anything else, has put pressure on our individual economies.

    • Bob Collins

      //We can survive without gas but not ‘bread’.

      In truth we can’t. Unless you’re growing your own wheat and baking the break, it takes gas — diesel — to get it to you.

    • c

      bsimon-

      folks are complaining about gas because most folks do not realize that they can live without gas. they are still asleep. they’ll wake up sooner, now rather than later. they will soon realize that they have everything that they need right out their own back door. (i was going to say under their nose but some of the readers may have misunderstood that for cocaine.)

    • http://www.shotinthedark.info mitch berg

      “some of the readers may have misunderstood that for cocaine”

      Which costs about a sixth of what it did in 1983, as a matter of fact.

    • daveg

      Interesting. I’m hearing that I don’t need a computer, but the fact is that I’m a software developer by profession. I’d say I do, in fact, need computers. I’m hearing that I don’t need gas, and that everything that I need is right out my back door. But… I need my job, or I won’t even have a back door, and I need to get to my job.

      Now, this is where it gets interesting, at least to me. With the use of the computer, internet, and cell phone that I don’t really “need,” I could work from home, at which point I could certainly use a whole lot less gas.

      It fascinates me the way these things all bounce off of each other, but eventually all end up playing a part in modern life.

      Do I “need” a VCR, or portable digital music, or any of those other things on my less? Biologically, no, of course not. Food, water, and oxygen would keep me breathing, if not exactly living. But consider the hypothetical $5 million I took with me back to 1982. Some of those things on my list couldn’t be bought for the entire nut, and others, even if available, would be hugely inferior to the things we have now. You say you don’t need those things, but we wouldn’t be having this conversation without many of them.

      My point is that we now not only take for granted the very existence of things that would have seemed to be technical miracles in 1982, but we also take for granted the extreme attainability of them. A DVD player is $39 for crying out loud.

      But oh how we hate our deplorable situation today, where gas and/or bread cost more than we’d like. We want to go back to “affordable” gas, even if it means giving up all of our modern luxuries and conveniences.

      Maybe (well, probably) it’s the contrarian in me, but no thanks. I’m staying right here and right now, and if it costs me $7/gallon, so be it.

    • c

      /It fascinates me the way these things all bounce off of each other, but eventually all end up playing a part in modern life.//

      there are other means of surviving. and your modern life is screwing up our planet

    • c

      excuse me:

      i should have said “OUR modern life is screwing up our planet”

    • JSmith

      I disagree, we fairly well can’t screw up the planet. In the end the planet will be fine. People on the other hand… not so much.

      Sorry to rant but I think it’s important to differentiate honestly. I feel like it would make people more aware of what’s really going on: We’re not killing the planet, just ourselves. If you want the human race to continue to exist for a long period of time in the future we need to make different choices.

      More on topic, are there any numbers regarding overall cost of living and median (not average) income from 1982 vs 2008? I’m curious to see the difference.

    • Bob Collins

      Historical median income here.

      Historical CPI here.

    • c

      /Sorry to rant but I think it’s important to differentiate honestly. I feel like it would make people more aware of what’s really going on: We’re not killing the planet, just ourselves. If you want the human race to continue to exist for a long period of time in the future we need to make different choices./

      J smith you switched your words around but you are making the same point that i am.

      WE with OUR MODERN lives are screwing up our planet vs. we need to make different choices if we want to survive.

      yes our planet is rebirthing. We have accelerated the process through our great industrial revolution and the so called “progress” that have caused green house gases that have generated from it. we have also accelerated in commercialism in the last 100 years which has also in the end caused lotsa pollution. Yes better choices which include less consumption-SUCH AS SANS THE GAP-

      by the way bob-

      i do not grind my own wheat but i do indeed make my own bread.

    • Zeb

      For all of the debate about what’s wrong with the country vs. how good we have it now, I think we’re missing a salient point here. I would submit that the Western world is indeed living in the lap of luxury and comfort, but what concerns some of us is that we are doing it at the expense of a sustainable future for our children. THAT is the problem. We have been working for what we see as the pinnacle of human existence, but what are the opportunity costs to get there?