Barron's recently published an article comparing dividends on S&P500 stocks with inflation, since 2007 to the end of 2012.
Inflation is up a total of 12% since 2007.
S&P500 dividends are up a total of 14% since 2007.
Dividend growth beats inflation. Even over the worst dividend cuts thus far in the 21st century.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 "Speaking of Dividends": online.barrons.com/article/speaking_of_dividends.html
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Additional disclosure: I have a few shares in many companies which might be found in the S&P 500 but I have no SPY or any other S&P 500 index fund.