The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

December 17, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas come with a heftier price tag

For the last-minute holiday shopper I have a suggestion. A financial firm tracks the annual cost of the items included in the carol the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Rather than procrastinate you will probably need to start right away to secure all of these items for your special someone and it is going to cost you more this year than last. Never let it be said that I didn’t have suggestions!

This Christmas Index produced a price increase of 10.6 percent from last year for each item, totaling $20,393.17. If you strictly adhered to the song, repeating all of the verses, the cost would set up back $114,651.18 for 364 gifts, up 6.9 percent from 2012. The items tend to fall into two general categories: commodities; pear tree, partridge, French hens, geese, gold, or, labor; maids-a-milking, lords-a-leaping and pipers piping.

For the most part, the commodity items were very well contained, showing little actual increase over 2012. As of the end of November, the Dow Jones UBS Commodity Index was down 13 percent over the past year. Five gold rings showed no increase despite gold experiencing a market decline of 27 percent. The outlier was four calling birds, up 15 percent and swans were excluded as they have proven especially volatile, not surprising given their temperament. My taste runs more to beef and pork or consumable items. Market livestock prices were down over 1 percent in the past year for live cattle and lean hogs.

Labor conditions in the U.S. have recently improved with November’s unemployment rate falling to 7 percent. The economy has been adding more jobs in the past two months according to nonfarm payroll reports from the Labor Department. The past two months have shown increases of over 200,000 jobs a month. The Christmas Index reflects the labor components making the biggest increase, with Nine Ladies Dancing up 20 percent, reflecting increased demand for specialized skills. I find the 10 percent increase in 10 Lords-a-Leaping suspect, given the government austerity programs in Europe and double digit unemployment in much of the Euro Zone.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton: The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled "'Fair offer' differences" in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate state

    April 18, 2014

  • The lesson of 'Camp David' The line between determination and delusion can be obscure. Sometimes, the distinction emerges only in retrospect, like a Polaroid image slowly appearing. In other instances, the difference between productive grit and self-defeating obsession is an a

    April 18, 2014

  • Wild Rose avoids another distraction Several casino operators in the state of Iowa breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to reject a casino in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids is close enough to have a possible effect on Wild Rose Casino and R

    April 18, 2014

  • Youngquist photo World Book Night celebrated April 23 The Clinton Public Library children's department plans to start a Legos club this June. We would appreciate donations of new or used Legos bricks. Please, no Duplo bricks. Drop donations at the children's desk on the second floor of the library. Root

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walter Williams mug Equality in discipline George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled "Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths." The subtitle is "School Discipline

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reader is grateful for Iowa-American Water's help I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Iowa-American Water Company and its hard-working professional crew. I was without water, due to frozen pipes, for almost seven weeks. Everyone went above and beyond to get my wat

    April 17, 2014

  • 'Case Day' inspires students to aim high There's an MRCTV video circulating on the Internet that features a man with a microphone asking college students in Washington, D.C., to name just one member of the United States Senate. At least half a dozen are stumped. When he asks how many senato

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-15-14 13-Photo, Masters Bubba more than local hero? AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He plays a sexy game of golf, owns two green jackets and -- in what constitutes a show of major respect in these parts --Bubba Watson made rabid Georgia Bulldog fans take a break from spring football to watch some golf this weekend. A

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Leonard Pitts mug ...and this is Overkill News Network Enough, already. Please, for the love of Cronkite: Give us a break from the missing plane. Yes, we all wonder what happened to it. Yes, our hearts go out to the families seeking resolution. But really, CNN ... enough. Put your hands up and step away

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook