Better get used to more misery

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Attention, readers: Here is a term we have not heard for a long while: “misery index.” I assume it is part of the “hope and change” thing. The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index. Today’s misery index is at 12.7 ... 9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation. The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008. Better get used to it until we change back. JOHN T. NIGHTINGALE, Auburn