Flutterby™! : Cost of LIving

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Cost of LIving

2011-02-02 16:48:34.788659+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

Over on Facebook, one of my contacts linked to Cracked.com: 5 Complaints About Modern Life (That Are Statistically B.S.). The first one is:

"The corporations and the government have us all living like slaves. I can back it up with numbers, too -- in 1950 you could buy a brand new nine-room brick home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for the whopping sum of $11,500. A decent family car was about $500, and the gas for it was about 25 cents a gallon. A large loaf of bread cost under 15 cents. A large coffee was a nickel, with a free refill. I could go on and on. But now between greedy corporations and the government confiscating our income with sky-high taxes, you have to work two jobs just to survive."

Which they then attempt to rebut with "A low-end job in the service industry paid a dollar an hour in 1950.". Okay, so, let's look at their numbers then. These days, a low-end job in the service industry pays what, $8, maybe $10 an hour? So let's multiply all that by ten.

Can't buy a nine-room brick home anywhere near me for $115,000. Looks like you can buy an older home in Pittsfield for that. A decent family car for $5,000? Okay, it's apples and oranges, cars these days have 6 or more digit odometers, not 5 digit ones, and safety in modern cars is a completely different world than back then, but... Gas for $2.50? Hah! I don't buy pre-sliced bread, so I probably don't see the low end of the spectrum, but I expect to pay at least $3.80 for a loaf of bread, not $1.50. Fifty cents for a cup of coffee? Not for a while.

They do point to a couple of cost-of-living calculators, but to go back a bit... I went to High School in Fairfield County, Connecticut. A pretty upscale area, I'd definitely compare the economics of that area to Marin and Sonoma. Most cost of living calculators say between the mid '80s and now we've seen 2 or 2.5 times inflation multiplier. As I think I've mentioned before, for every price I can remember, from gasoline to a large soft-serve ice cream, things are about four times more expensive now than they were then. So I don't know where these lower numbers that the cost of living calculators are using come from, but I'm skeptical.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Politics Bay Area Sociology Automobiles Economics Government ]

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