Sunday, January 27, 2013

No Worries Mate. It's a beautiful world.

James Thompson posted a comment on the Old Tools Mailing List that triggered a minor off topic rant so I went off list to comment. It made enough sense I shared it here on my blog.
"-----Original Message-----
From: James Thompson
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 10:15 AM
To: Phil Schempf
Subject: Re: [OldTools] Bow saw project
Sometimes I wish I couldn't remember when good ice cream was a nickel a scoop. How in the hell did it get to $2 a scoop? Inflation has a psychological effect on those who can remember it. I will not pay that for an ice cream cone, but younger people don't have my frame of reference. They have no idea that the price is an outrage.This same thing applies to most everything else we buy, including pins for bowsaws.
 See? Getting old is unpleasant. Let me count the ways..... :>)"
I agree completely with you on the appalling rate of inflation. In 1970, at the Midwest Foundry, working as a Class C millwright/maintenance/machine repairman 8 hours a day 6 days per week I made $11,000.00 a year. For a 19 year old kid that was good money.
At $9000.00 the government said I had paid all the Social Security I need to and stopped collecting it.
I could buy a top line Chevy pickup for $3000.00
I could buy a 15 year old 3 bedroom ranch house with a full basement in Coldwater, Michigan for $16,000.00
The following is from
Cost of a first-class stamp:     $0.06
Cost of a gallon of regular gas:     $0.36
Cost of a dozen eggs:     $0.62
Cost of a gallon of Milk:     1.15
After 3 months I had earned the price of a truck.
With an additional 18 months I earned the price of a house.
In less than 2 years of working by the age of 21 I had all I needed to live in Coldwater for the next 35 years just as my father had.
Let's move 42 years into the future.
Fortunately my income has increased at a rate above inflation because I was able to advance to higher positions. If I hadn't wanted to go to school at night, move through 12 companies, and accept driving 150 miles a day for work I would still be working at the same level.
Today a Journeyman millwright/maintenance/machine repairman at my company makes approximately $37,000.00. Looks like a great increase doesn't it? Especially when we consider that is 8 hrs a day 5 days per week. Almost 3.4 times what I made in 1970. Say business picked up and they were able to work the hours I did. At 6 days per week and you add $11,232.00 per year. That bumps it up to 4.3 times what I made in 1970.
According to the Social Securities own website at if I were still working at my original job I could stop paying social security at $113,700.00. That's 12.5 times higher than 1970.
I can buy a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for $24,585.00 msrp. That's 8.1 times higher than 1970
According to at
In Coldwater, Michigan a 3 Bedroom house For Sale Median Price is $159,900.  Just a little less than 10 times higher than 1970.
Letters 1st Class 45¢ or 7.5 times 1970 prices. If you don't use a standard envelope there is a bad envelope penalty 20¢ for anything larger, thicker, or otherwise not a standard business envelope. That bumps it up to 65¢ or 10.1 times 1970 prices.

 As listed on Numbeo at Gasoline (1 liter) is 0.98 $   Not to bad until you consider 1 Liter = 0.264172052637296 Gallons. That bumps the price to $3.71 per gallon only 3.79 times higher than 1970. 
Eggs (12)     $2.00   3.22 times higher than 1970
Milk (regular), 1 liter     0.99 $      Not to bad until you consider 1 Liter = 0.264172052637296 Gallons. That bumps the price to $3.75 per gallon only 3.26 times higher than 1970.
Water (1.5 liter bottle)     1.75 $     Water was free in 1970.
So what does this whole exercise end up with?
A kid today works 4 years to reach Journeyman. With the number of laid off skilled trades finding a startup position in skilled trades is next to impossible.
We'll just assume he hires in right out of high school at Journeyman level.
After 2.5 years of work he will have earned the price of a pickup truck.
With an additional 4.3 years he will have earned the price of a house.
After 6.8 years of work todays kid at 25 can reach where I was at 21.
If he can find a job.


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