Things people could afford on one lower-middle class income in the 50s and 60s:
Things people can afford on one lower-middle class income today:
-Giant flatscreen TV
-Half the rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
Therefore we should be a bit less surprised at the way people are acting. They have no skin in the game of life at all, and a lot of skin in hyper-reality (i.e. ego-serving distractions).
I’d put lower middle class at the wages of a Ford line worker in 1955 and compare it favorably to an income of 20-40k today. I was recently challenged on this assertion. Very rude, you’re supposed to just see my head shape and listen in a trancelike state. It’s because I’m a ginger, isn’t it?
The comparison group we agreed to is a guy working on the line at Ford in 1955 who already has a family and saves up for a home in 5 years.
Couch surfing with my brahs for 2 months. Start sharing rent for $200/month. Keep up living below your means. Gain experience and trust. Move up or don’t. Move on if not appreciated. 3-5 years? Probably a good estimate. Certainly within 10. Now you’re ready for 1 or both. Especially with a 30yr mortgage, but possibly even without. Depends on how well you pinch them pennies.”
So your argument is that a person today can afford the 1955 list on 31k today, provided they go without those things until they’re making more money?
We should probably run the numbers on my end too to make sure I’m not full of shit (never happened before). However, the concept of “real wages” makes me pretty damn confident in my assertion.
1955 weekly wage was 100$. At the Rouge Ford plant. So 5200 a year. $5,200 in 1955 is worth $49,747.12 today. https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1955?amount=5200
For taxes: https://www.tax-brackets.org/federaltaxtable/1955. Call that an even 30% for ease and to account for state taxes. That’s $3,640 take home. $3,640 in 1955 is worth $34,822.98 today.
Moreover, the inflation occurred mostly in housing, food, and medical care costs: https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1955?amount=1#category-breakdown. Those had average annual inflation rates of around 5% rather than 3%. The power of compound interest means those costs doubled every 15 years instead of every 24 years (rule of 72). Working backward, we can calculate that houses, food, and medical care cost doubled three times over a period when general inflation only doubled twice. That means, even speaking conservatively, we expect those things cost half as much in 1955 as they do now, proportional to other costs of living.
This doesn’t even cover the decreases in economic mobility, which logically implies less opportunity today than in 1955, not more.