Being an election year, there's lots of focus on the unemployment rate being over 8%. (Without the politically driven manipulations, it's actually over 11% and over 20% are less than fully employed…but I digress…that's the subject for another post).

Across the board, I hear people talking about how it is harder and harder to make ends meet. And they don't understand why since the reported economic news is pretty much smiley faced.

But a picture is worth a thousand words (Chinese proverb and pretty darn true!). Below is a chart courtesy of John Williams and Shadowstats ( Adjusted for inflation, median household income has plunged to levels not seen since 1995.

But actually, the picture doesn't tell the whole story because the reported inflation rate has been kept artificially low to mask the real toll.

Anyone who has bought groceries or gas in the last year knows intuitively that inflation is much higher than reported.

So, if you are feeling the pinch, you are clearly not alone. And here's the proof.

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