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Much of what is in this chart is simply a function of gouging.

@Johncdvorak The measurement of affordability of cars is surprising to me

@Johncdvorak if it's permanent, what's the difference?

@Johncdvorak College textbooks in particular -- they sell the same textbooks to poor people for reasonable prices and do whatever they can to stop you from buying from there.
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@Johncdvorak No such thing as gouging. Buyers always set the price. Always.

@Johncdvorak #1 increase in price? hospital services

what's one of the most proprietary-software using industries in the US? hospitals

GNU/Health https://news.opensuse.org/2021/10/20/hospital-to-run-gnu-health-openSUSE/ is how to reduce that overhead substantially, and to take a good chunk of the graft away

@Johncdvorak Most of the top of this chart is the government shoveling shocking amounts of money into those industries and bidding up the prices commensurately, not businesses maliciously pricing out their customers.

"Gouging" is just a word for "market clearing that upsets people".

See also: Munger on Price Gouging https://www.econtalk.org/munger-on-price-gouging/

@jeffcliff @Johncdvorak software costs down? Most big software packages switched to subscription..might be lower, but you never stop paying that low price.

@CattleBaron @Johncdvorak did you click through to GNU/Health? https://gnuhealth.org/

@Johncdvorak It seems odd that there are no fuel or utilities in the graph.

@Johncdvorak To all commenters, keep in mind that gouging is not necessarily determined by price. Margin, or markup, or profit, for a good or service is where I would lay claim to gouging. So if the markup on a good or service is out of line with respect to its value in the market there is a potential problem. A problem that a true capitalist system would correct. But we don’t have that. Not even close.

@Johncdvorak or anyone, have an idea on the reason for the 2018 textbook dip and spike? First I thought it was too granular, and maybe it was tied to semesters, but it didn't happen in other years. (Maybe 2009?)

@Johncdvorak in fairness, college textbooks are printed on unicorn vellum, that justifies their cost

@Johncdvorak a function of government policies is what I think you mean.

@Johncdvorak
Price gouging is mis-understood. When government sanctioned middlemen get involved with something like Healthcare, we hear the costs are rising and government needs to solve the problem. In reality that is gouging.
If there is a wildfire in CA and lumber is necessary there will be a price rise due to scarcity. I will find the price necessary for me to remove my products from another market and bring it to CA. My profits enable CA to have what it needs. There is a difference

@average_random_joe @Johncdvorak True, and there are a lot of barriers to entry in all of those fields too, which is blocking the market's natural relief-valve for high prices (more firms enter and compete to bid prices back down). I only object to the word 'gouging' insofar as it implies the problem is businesses are being malicious or "too greedy", rather than that the government has implemented bonkers policies, including heavy regulatory burdens and barriers to entry.

@anonymoose @Johncdvorak

That assumes a level playing field. There can be gouging when you have a protection from competition. The graph is a pretty good line up on regulatory burden.

@Johncdvorak Markets FedGov interferes with versus the ones they don’t