Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I Walked Three Miles...

...through the snow to school every day.  UP Hill, Both ways!
In three short days I will be Seventy Years Old.  As I get older it seems that 70 is the new 70! Meaning I am getting older and feel it.  Lucky me, I am still pretty strong, can lift my weight, still put in at least a half days work and I sleep through the night without getting up to pee!  I can think back now on "the good old days", my own youth.  Yes, times were different then, a Half Century Ago!
The economies of scale were different with far less extremes.  Then (1960's) a Chief Executive Officer of a company made as an average Six times the wages of his employees. Now it could be Thousands of Times their wages!  In the "Good Old Days"  (when America was Great!) we had a Progressive Income Tax structure.  At the Top, those who made over a Million a year, it went to over 90%.  Now, as a percentage of their income, these people pay Less than their Secretaries!
I never really had a good job in my youth.  I picked Pineapples in Hawaii for $1.25 per hour.  I worked on a Tender, the boat that collects the fish from the fishing boats and takes them to the cannery.  I made $50 per day on that job.  I made sewer pipes from creosote and newspapers and came home filthy every night after work.  I made a dollar an hour from that. I got married in 1968 while a Student at the University of Oregon and working at the local cannery.  I was making almost $2.00 an hour.
I have been thinking about then and now and have come to some interesting thoughts.  It is mostly math and based on my then minimum wage of $2. per hour to the Oregon minimum wage of $10 now.  That is 5 times more. Tuition at the U of O was $97 per term, so 5 times more would be $500.
In Reality, it has gone up over 30 times More to over $3,000.
I bought my house in 1972, admittedly a "fixer-upper", I paid less than $10,000 for it and was making minimum wage at the time.  5 times that would be $50,000.  In reality, if you could find one it would be closer to $150,000 now.  That is 15 Times the Money.
Before we bought the house we were renters.  On $2.00 per hour we had a nice little 2 bedroom house for $100 per month.  Five Times That Money, $500, will barely get you a room in a house now! The average rent for a 2 bedroom house is about $1,500 per month.  Fifteen Times the Money!
I remember distinctly when my Utility bill went Over $20 per month the first time!  Now it is Over $200 per month,  Ten Times the Money!
Cigarettes were .25 cents per pack and 5 times that should be $1.25.
A cup of coffee was .10 cents, should be 50 cents now.
Hamburger was three pounds for a dollar, a loaf of bread for a quarter.
You could actually Save Money and live on $2.00 per hour.  One year my wife and I wanted to go to Europe and we were still working at the cannery!  It was a five month season, starting with rhubarb, then beets, and corn and ending with carrots.  We saved all we could and in five months had enough saved to go to Europe, all costs and transportation, for three months!
We complain about the lack of goals for our youth today but frankly, ten dollars per hour does not do half as much as $2.00 per hour did in my youth.

3 comments:

Clipped Wings said...

Almost a week late, but truly from the heart...I wish you a very happy birthday that stays happy throughout the next year of your life. Yvonne :)

A Modest Scribler said...

A belated Happy Birthday, Jerry. Re, wage growth and inflation, I really believe the essentially differences now are the failure of the work ethic and the plethora of government programs that insure one doesn't suffer from the lack of it.

Rama Ananth said...

Belated Happy birthday dear Jerry!
Yes, those were the days. However, we have made lots of improvements during these years and many have benefitted and many have not, just like those days. Today also the rich are getting richer, and the poor remain poor. All governments are same, they are not interested in the welfare of the people, and they only are looking up ways to fill their own pockets.
The change is only superficial, for if you looked deeper the world has remained the same and would remain the same, except for a few cosmetic changes here and there.
At the end of the day, we can only be grateful we were not born in Iraq, Afganistan, Syria, Palistine or any such countries, where there is no hope for even basic life, for life itself is only temporary and even if you have survived, you have nothing to look forward.