The Real Cost of $800

With the price of gold over $800 an ounce, and platinum topping $1,000 an ounce, it's no surprise the jewelry industry fears the sky is falling. After all, few in the industry can say "1981" without a shudder. But this isn't 1981, and $800 isn't as much money as it used to be. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator, $800 in 1981 dollars is $1,838.82 today. Or, in reverse, today's $800 gold would have cost about $348 in 1981. And, no, we're not in a recession. According to a special report from the Wachovia Economics Group, current conditions warrant concern, but they're not recessionary. "Economists as a group are fairly optimistic about the economy's prospects," writes Mark Vitner, Wachovia's senior economist. "The latest Blue Chip Economic Consensus Forecast assigns about a one-third chance of a recession during the next year, which is roughly the same

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