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"A dollar buys almost the same amount of standard "stuff" as it did a few years back."

CPI is bogus
House prices, bond prices, stock prices, college education, healthcare insurance

Do read my post.
CPI isn't mentioned in it.
I'm talking about general purchasing power of a currency.

The price of bonds obviously has nothing to do with the purchasing power of the dollar.
(except perhaps in that high bond prices are a sign that the currency is holding up very well, and is expected continue doing that).

This is the thing to understand:
The things that have gone up in price a lot in the last few years are things that are seeing product or service-specific factors going on.

Most often they are services suffering from Baumol's cost disease.*
There are just as many things going down in price, because of their own industry-specific factors.
There is very little broad monetary inflation in the US in recent years.
For general "stuff", which is the best measure of monetary inflation and purchasing power, the dollar has mostly held its value very well.
Clothes, cars, hammers, ships, shoes, sealing wax, cabbages, you name it.
A deck of cards, a coffee cup, a card table, a bottle of bourbon.

Want to see whether a currency is holding its purchasing power?
Pick 25 things that are NOT undergoing large changes in prices relative to other things because of industry-specific factors, and look at what those are doing.
(That would NOT be houses or bonds or memory chips or health insurance or education)
Those stable things make a good guide for what the currency itself is doing in terms of remaining a store of value.
It's surprisingly resilient in the US.

This lack of monetary inflation--the currency holding its purchasing power value well--is completely different from the observation that some people are finding their own cost of living rising rapidly.
It's a subtle but important distinction.
Those people may be suffering, but it has nothing got do with rampant monetary inflation or a weakening currency.
They just happen to be spending a whole lot of their (stable) money on the things that are having industry-specific price rises like health insurance.
Other people, those buying computers and drones and fuel and tee shirts, are seeing the reverse effect.
Neither idiosyncratic experience says anything at all about the currency's ability to hold its value.
Which, as mentioned, has been pretty good in the US for quite a while.


* That's the effect of wages rising in low-productivity and non-traded sectors like health care
because of competition for staff who are getting justifiably higher wages in rising productivity sectors.
For example, you have to pay nurses and teachers and even barbers more in recent years because some of them could otherwise have become programmers or radiologists.
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