The CD ‘chart of the century’ makes the rounds at the Federal Reserve


The chart under discussion:



Government financed services have increased in price the most.


Looked to me like the costs of manufactoring have decreased. Whereas sectors that rely on human capital have gone up.


Not surprising all the things the government promised to make cheaper are ridiculously more expensive. The good news for the politicians is that means they can keep running on the same platform forever. That lowers the costs of their campaign.


The AEI article highlighted three factors that may be behind these trends. Two have been discussed already hon the thread. The Third is globalization.

c. The greater the degree of international competition for tradeable goods, the greater the decline in prices over time, e.g. toys, clothing, TVs, appliances, furniture, footwear, etc.


True. But cars are not up despite the fact that they’re not made in the third world or China. So, I don’t know that we can say foreign competition has anything significant to do with low price levels. Now, it’s true that some small American vehicles made to meet CAFE standards are made in Mexico, or largely so. But American, Canadian or European made cars dominate the markets.

For other products, I could see the argument.

Those costs that do have heavy governmental involvement are very high. That would include food and beverages to a degree, because the government does subsidize some food products such as grain and sugar. But whether that’s enough to push the non-subsidized products like poultry and beef upward is doubtful.


There are two pertinent arguments here that are discussed in the link.

  1. Automation in manufacturing jobs.
  2. Foreign competition.
    The first is certainly applicable to the auto industry. And given the international outsourcing of components of cars made in America, the latter has some applicability as well.


This is a good chart to show when someone throws a hissy fit over someone on government assistance owning a cell phone or a TV.


Interesting article as far as it goes.

I think I would have to see some direct information about foreign competition in autos being a major factor in keeping prices down. First of all, most cars are made in the first world. Virtually none sold here are from the “super low labor cost” countries like China or Vietnam. Those cars like Chrysler products are manufactured by an Italian company, but not much of their components are made elsewhere.

I sure didn’t know that the biggest segment of auto-related employment is in the dealerships, not manufacturing.


Where are the pieces made? Here is a further look.

My car is assembled in the US but about half of the parts are North American made; the the engine and transmission and some 40% of the parts are from Japan


Japan is “first world”.

The real question not whether some number of parts were made in Japan. The question is the degree to which foreign trade reduces the cost of things like cars. When a car is mostly made in the first world, inexpensive foreign production is doubtful as a primary cause of low inflation in car prices.

It’s undoubtedly true in some things, but the effect on cars seems questionable.


Hmmm … Tesla is only 50%.


Water supplied though government pipes is much cheaper than installing your own well and sewer system. I know. I have had both.


There has been a significant internationalization of cars manufacture that goes beyond country of assembly.
Have a look at the link,; here is the the list of places ued to designate where parts are made for all of the listed cars.

Great Britain
United State

The degree to which this internationlaization, as compated to automation, has kept car prices in check is arguable. But it should not be overlook that bothof these effects were discussed in the article linked in the OP, not just the one effect noted by the OP.


All who support “free” trade think it benefits U.S. consumers. And it probably does in certain things, though it would be interesting to see just how much of the price differential goes to the importer rather than the consumer.

Without knowing what percentage of any given vehicle is made in, say, Romania, one can’t know the degree to which globalized trade is likely to have affected the price of a car. If everything in a Jeep Cherokee is made in the first world except the stitching on a fabric seat, the globalization has not really done much to keep prices down.


As you well know, it depends on who is designing the “system”.


You have costs of installation and cost of running. This is true for both. You can’t really compare the costs of an established system to putting in your own.

Besides that different locales have different costs for water. Also in some systems water rates are varied based on the type of customer or the quantity of water they use.

The good thing though with your own well is you aren’t medicated against your will and without concern for dosage as you are with fluoride contaminated government water.


Sure you can. You can amortize your costs of installation over the expected lifetime of the system, factor in regular maintenance. Municipal water wins over private wells, big time.

That’s a bad thing. Private wells can and do get contaminated and are expensive to maintain.


Did you have access to the cost of installing and maintaining the municipal system? If not then how could you compare?


I’m not convinced yet, though I couldn’t really say you’re wrong. Undoubtedly it depends on location, like a lot of things. A good well and pump system around here costs about $9,000.00, complete. With any luck at all, it won’t require maintenance for decades. The water “horizons” vary quite a bit. There’s a lot of water in the rock in the Ozarks. You can get reliable water at less than 100 feet, depending on where you are. “Artesian” pressure sand is anywhere from 200 feet to 1500 feet down.

From that point on, it’s just the electricity unless lightning hits the pump, which happens sometimes. My parents’ drilled well was 250 feet deep, but there was pressure, so the water rose to within 12 feet of the surface. Doesn’t take much to pump that. Their system is about 40 years old and they’ve never had to “pull the pump”. They did replace their pressure tank once, though.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit