Monday, November 20, 2017

Something to be thankful for: the cost of a 2017 Thanksgiving dinner is lower than last year and 23% lower than 1986

A lot of people really believe a lot of false stuff and it is hard to talk them out of if.  One false thing people believe is that violent crime is worse than in the past.  News of mass shootings and knowledge of rampant Black on Black gang related crime in a few cities can lead one to think that crime is worse, but overall  your chance of being a victim of crime is much less than in the past forty of so years.  I am not going to dig out the data to document this point but it is true.  If you doubt me, do the research.

Another thing people believe that is false is that groceries cost more than in the past. I had an elderly relative recently lament the cost of groceries and she told me that every time she went to the grocery store it seems like it cost more. She said the cost of groceries just keep going up.  That is not my experience. It seems like every time I go grocery shopping I see more little Kroger tags below items that say, "new lower price."  I have seen the data, groceries are consistently getting less costly.

Part of the reason people may think that groceries are more expensive is because they buy more expensive items and additional items. Twenty years ago bottled water was not a common grocery store purchase, now many people think they must buy water at the store rather than drink tap water.  Also, shoppers may buy the more expensive but convenient salad in a bag rather than a head of lettuce and other produce to make their own salad.  If, however, you are buying comparable quality of groceries, prices have dropped significantly. They have dropped in inflation adjusted dollars and in percent of income allocated to groceries.

I don't know why people want to believe bad news even when it is false. After all, there is really enough bad news to be depressed about. One reason I think ready to believe bad thing that are not true is because people just like to complain.  Bad news is more enjoyable to talk about than good news. The price of gas fluctuates. When a gallon of gas goes from $1.98 to $2.49 people will share their pain at the pump. Few share their celebration when gas drops from $2.49 to $1.98. People tell each other when they pay more at the pump, they don't tell each other when they pay less.

American Enterprise Institute recently examined the change in the cost of Thanksgiving dinner and found that the cost of a 2017 Thanksgiving dinner is lower than last year and 23% lower than 1986. Believe it and be thankful.

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