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So I have seen the arguments on here that the $500 brass model in 1990 would be around $1,000 today because of inflation. I get it but let's look at the buying power of our US dollars.  I am truly one of those people that make the "regular" middle income here in the midwest.  In 1990 I made about $25k per year, I now make about $39k.  My wages have not doubled yet the prices of most things have.  People say, "get more education, move to where the jobs are, etc."  Easy to do when you do not have kids in school, family attachments or the US military says you go where I say you go not to mention the fact that nobody wants to hire someone on the verge of retirement.  We tend to oversimplify things in many cases. I agree that supply/demand and the free economy are at play here.  I support that , I defended that for a decade as a Seabee but I am not in the position to spend that kind of money for a hobby that seems to sadly be in decline as we all drift off into retirement and beyond....

I think a lot of O Scalers are retired and are using social security money that they don't really need to live on to buy trains.

So I have seen the arguments on here that the $500 brass model in 1990 would be around $1,000 today because of inflation. I get it but let's look at the buying power of our US dollars.  I am truly one of those people that make the "regular" middle income here in the midwest.  In 1990 I made about $25k per year, I now make about $39k.  My wages have not doubled yet the prices of most things have.  People say, "get more education, move to where the jobs are, etc."  Easy to do when you do not have kids in school, family attachments or the US military says you go where I say you go not to mention the fact that nobody wants to hire someone on the verge of retirement.  We tend to oversimplify things in many cases. I agree that supply/demand and the free economy are at play here.  I support that , I defended that for a decade as a Seabee but I am not in the position to spend that kind of money for a hobby that seems to sadly be in decline as we all drift off into retirement and beyond....

What you are talking about is what they call "real" income based on some standard scale and why they say real incomes, adjusted for inflation, have fallen for a lot of people. If the price of things goes up 100%, but your salary doesn't go up that much, you have lost ground. Inflation is based on a relatively small 'basket' of goods, it doesn't account for things like the cost of insurance, the cost of housing, and so forth either. 

In terms of why prices are going up, it could be the same phenomenon that is being seen around home based stuff in general, because of covid where people aren't travelling, are kind of mostly hanging out at home, anything with hobbies or with home stuff is soaring. Add to that supply chain problems, and the weirdest things are hard to find. I was thinking of buying a relatively decent bluetooth based turntable with speakers for my son for Christmas this year, the ones I was looking at were totally sold out, bc there was a surge in buying them. I suspect with shows being cancelled, it also limits the supply, too, not to mention there likely is little to no new stuff coming in.

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