Sometime Reason magazine contributor Steven Horwitz takes a chart of nominal price rises over the past decade on a variety of consumer items and adjusts them for inflation and average hourly wage rises to calculate how much more (or less) they cost in hours-worked terms.
And the news is pretty good for most things, with real prices in those terms sinking in the past decade by double digits for 34 out of 46 items on the list.
Only buyers of the daily New York Times (up 51 percent), gold (up 125 percent), and admission to the Empire State Building's observation deck (up 184 percent) are truly screwed among the selected items, a pretty varied cross-section of the stuff we might be buying.
UPDATE: As neither I nor Horwitz noted, but perspicacious commenter Mike P. did, Horwitz was dealing with nominal wage rises in his calculations, not inflation-adjusted ones. Horwitz has swiftly adjusted his calculations accordingly, and now only about half the items show a real fall in prices in hourly wage terms, and only 20 of the 46 items have fallen by double digit percentages. That's still good news, methinks, if slightly less spectacularly good news.