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SNAP BACK TO REALITY … 

As recently as two decades ago America still had a free market … and still stood as the envy of the free world (as well as a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world).  Oh, and when it came to celebrating freedom, the cost of one pound of 100 percent ground beef for your Fourth of July hamburger was less than $1.50.

Today?  The cost of a pound of ground beef is approaching $4.00 – up more than 16 percent from last year alone.

Beef isn’t the only thing that’s more expensive these days.  The bread, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes on your burger are also pushing all-time highs – spikes driven by the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing plan (a.k.a. wealth redistribution scheme).

How much more expensive is “stuff?”

Since 2000, the cost of a gallon of gas has soared by 176.4 percent.  A dozen eggs is 106.2 percent more.  Health care spending?  That’s up 104.4 percent.

Now … compare those numbers to the 39.1 percent increase in the consumer price index (CPI) over the same period.  Or the 31.5 percent rise in the personal consumption expenditure (PCE), which is the index the Federal Reserve uses to track consumer inflation.

Hmmmm … that’s a real disconnect, one that calls into question the government’s definition of inflation.

“For those still working, most are losing purchasing power each year,” our friends at Economic Noise.com  wrote this week. “Wages are not keeping up with inflation, even the understated numbers reported by government. In short, the decline of a once-great economic power is well underway. The country is no longer growing enough to raise everyone’s standard of living.”

Sure … but it’s all going to turn around in the second quarter, right?  Right?