From Michael Krieger who posted this chart:
inflation was virtually unheard of until the Creature from Jekyll Island (the Federal Reserve) took over. However, more importantly, things didn’t really start to get bad until the 1970′s right after Nixon took the nation off the gold standard in 1971. Since that time, America has seen a period of non-existent real wage growth and a huge gap grow between the rich and the poor. Nothing like livin’ the debt slave dream!
and this comment from a reader at Zerohedge:
Essay by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff
Shifting Mandates: The Federal Reserve’s First Centennial
It is probable that in 1913, while financial panics were not uncommon, high inflation was still largely seen by the founders of the Fed as a relatively rare phenomenon associated with wars and their immediate aftermath. Figure 1 plots the US price level from 1775 (set equal to one) until 2012. In 1913 prices were only about 20 percent higher than in 1775 and around 40 percent lower than in 1813, during the War of 1812. Whatever the mandates of the Federal Reserve, it is clear that the evolution of the price level in the United States is dominated by the abandonment of the gold standard in 1933 and the adoption of fiat money subsequently. One hundred years after its creation, consumer prices are about 30 times higher than what they were in 1913. This pattern, in varying orders of magnitudes, repeats itself across nearly all countries.
Interesting to note:
In 1860, land was selling for $3 to $5 an acre, and a laborer’s wage without board was 90 cents a day.
Wheat flour — $7.14/barrel
Rice — 7 cents/pound
Granulated sugar — 8 cents/pound
Roasting beef — 11 cents/pound
Soup beef — 4 cents/pound
Cheese — 13 cents/pound
Eggs — 20 cents/dozen
Hard wood — $6.49/cord
Rent for 4 rooms — $4.45/month
Room and board for men — $2.79/month
Room and board for women — $1.79/month
If you haven't already read The Creature From Jekyll Island, then by all means put that on your reading list.