Price Changes Over 20 Years For Certain Goods & Services

Getting a raise is great. But earning more money won’t get you very far with student loans, medical bills and child care being so expensive that they eat up all your additional income.

Unfortunately, that is the situation that we as a country find ourselves facing, as a new graph from personal finance site HowMuch makes abundantly clear:

When I was in college I worked part time and was able to graduate with absolutely no student debt. Wow, how times have changed. What I don’t understand is why going to college has gotten so damned expensive.

This graph is modeled after one created last year by economist Mark J. Perry, who used data on inflation-adjusted price and wage changes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. People who are bullish on the economy (and modern capitalism in general) tend to emphasize how affordable consumer goods have become, and that’s certainly true when you look at TVs, toys and personal tech. But as consumer goods have become more affordable, the prices of essential services like health care, college tuition and child care have risen much faster than wages — meaning that people are spending more of their income on things they can’t meaningfully opt out of. So if it feels like student loans, health insurance premiums and day care bills are wiping out too big a chunk of your paycheck… well, that’s probably why.

[Read more at HowMuch]

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