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House poor indeed

Anyone who feels trapped by their mortgage will want to read the cover story in the March edition of Toronto Life (which, alas, is not available on-line, but is on newsstands now). It’s worth the cover price. I mention this partly to plug my employer, but mostly because, between the magazine’s cover story and the articles in my morning newspaper, I feel like everything I read these days has been lifted from The Journal of Shrinking Living Standards. It’s hard to name a household staple whose costs aren’t rising.

Oil prices closed above $100 a barrel yesterday, which will have a negative effect on everybody’s bottom line (except, of course, for oil companies). The price of wheat is going through the roof, which has me wondering when the $5 loaf will become the standard. Water prices in Toronto recently went up by over nine per cent. Everything about home ownership is more expensive, from structural maintenance to taxes. Milk prices have remained relatively stable—at least in some parts of the country (not so in Quebec)—though we arguably still pay too much for it. It’s nice in theory to have a loonie that trades near par with the US dollar. It makes for a cheap Florida or Arizona vacation, if you can afford one.

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