CPI helps evaporation of the middle class

Re: “Price index the lie that’s killing the middle class,” comment, Feb. 3.

As someone who has a BA in economics from the University of Victoria and whose father was a graduate of the London School of Economics, I congratulate the Times Colonist and Phil Venoit of B.C. Building Trades for pointing out that the consumer price index or CPI is indeed a lie. What this means is that low- and middle-income Canadians are being paid too little and taxed too much, and these two forces are driving the evaporation of Canada’s middle class.

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A graph on Wikipedia shows the CPI magically stabilizing after 1980 and making only modest increases since then. Yet as we all know, the cost of housing, food, gas, medications and government user fees have all skyrocketed since then.

Yes, consumer electronics have become cheaper, but that in no way makes up for the fact you are hard-pressed to find any individual item in the grocery store that is under $5. If the federal and provincial governments want to understand why Canadian society is headed for calamity, using the CPI as any kind of stand-in for the real inflation rate is a big part of the reason.

Michael Geoghegan

Victoria

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