My anecdotal sense parallel's [Ezra] Klein's--with the exception that all the good $45/person once-a-week restaurants on my side of L.A. seem overnight to have become $65/person restaurants,... But I may have to go back to do some now-tax-deductible field research.
Okay, a $45 meal per week works out to be roughly $2,300 per year for 52 meals. If one is to assume that Mickey Kaus is not a complete anti-social loser who actively seeks to eat expensive meals alone, he probably spends $4,000 to $5,000 on 52 meals.
Wow... my wife and I enjoy eating out, and we do have the occasional big meal for events such as our anniversary, or to celebrate a promotion at work. His weekly normal meal is one of our bi-annual big meals. We are an over-educated, dual income family with no kids, so we have truly disposable and discretionary income, but wow!
The last part of the quote is a decent excuse --- the $4,000 to $5,000 annual bill could be picked up as part of his expense account as he sucks up to his sources or editors, but still wow, just an amazingly simple example of different economic realities.