Wal-Mart (WMT) said its strong comparable-store sales yesterday benefited from the government’s stimulus checks. Wal-Mart’s gain, however isn’t really shared by consumers, who lost more than the value of the rebate checks to inflation:
Let’s look at an average family of four as described by the US Department of Agriculture (couple 30-50 with young kids). Their prescribed “liberal” food bill in June of 2007 was $897 per month. It now stands at $975 (compounding the latest figures for 4/08). That’s an annual increase of $936 per family.
The average adult uses 500 gallons of gasoline per year. The cost of unleaded gas in June 2007 stood at $3.13 per gallon. One year later it has risen to $3.93 per gallon. That’s an annual increase of $400 per person or $800 per couple.
If both parents work, the family will receive ($600 + $600 + $300 + $300) = $1,800
While the cost of their non–CPI living has consumed most of it ($936 + $800) = $1,736
How poetic – the answer is: $64!