51. Inflation-Adjusted Figures

Whenever financial figures from years ago are stated, they should always be adjusted for inflation if a significant time (and inflation) difference exists between that figure and its equivalent worth in the present. This should especially be true when comparing the cost of items, programs, etc., over a span of years. Comparison of financial figures separated by years should, by default, be discussed in terms of inflation adjusted constant dollars. When using current dollars, it should be explicitly noted every time. Fixed financial figures such as fines, awards, etc., should be adjusted for inflation, as well. For example, if in January of 1998 the fine for littering was $1,000 and inflation ran at 2% that year, then the fine for 1999 should be $1,020. The way the fine should be described in the law books and on signs (in fine print) posted on the highways should indicate that the $1,000 is based on 1998 constant dollars. Or if this way is too impractical or complicated, then these figures should be adjusted for inflation every few years, maybe every five years. The signs, unfortunately, would need to be changed more often than they are now to keep them up to date.


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