The things we really need are getting more expensive. Other stuff is getting cheaper. Why?

A recent chart from economist Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, illustrates this well. Since 1996, the prices of food and housing have increased by close to 60 percent, faster than the pace of inflation. Costs of health care and child care have more than doubled. The prices of textbooks and higher education nearly tripled.

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