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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 05:58 PM
Original message
Living 1960 Style: Minimum Wage Should Be $13/Hour
In 1960, the minimum wage was $1.00 an hour.

Here's what some basics cost in 1960:

New house; $11,700
Average monthly rent: $88
Gas: 22c a gallon
New car: $2,050
Health insurance for family: $75 a month

In 2008, the minimum wage was $6.55 an hour.

Here are the costs today:

New house: $212,000
Average monthly rent: $1,200
Gas: $2.25 a gallon
New car: $28,400
Health insurance for family: $840 a month

The costs have increased, on these basics, by a factor of 13 since 1960.

To have the same standard of living as Americans enjoyed in 1960, the minimum wage today should be $13 an hour.

HIGHER WAGES FOR THE AMERICAN WORKER NOW!
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. all the increase in wealth went to the top executives
the ones who are working and creating the wealth need to demand more. form unions.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. Totally agree, but I think your numbers understate things
Based on those figures, one working for minimum wage in 1960 could ONLY afford rent and health insurance. No food, nothing else. In some ways, that's pretty much the same way now.

I'd be interested in tracking all those numbers from 1950 to present - where did you find those numbers?
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. These figures were gleaned
from doing a couple of hours research on the web, from a variety of sources.
Certainly getting by on minimum wage in 1960 was no picnic, but it's twice as hard today.

You made $160 a month in 1960 on minimum, yet average rent was $88. (My father paid $65 a month for a studio apartment on the West Side of Manhattan in 1960!)
Today you'd make $1,048. Not even enough to make the rent.
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nichomachus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
47. Few people work for minimum wage
and those who do, don't fare very well -- either in 1960 or now. It's worse now because even the minimum wage hasn't kept up with the cost of living.

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Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. hmmm
I don't see how you came up with the $13 figure.
Everything now costs more than 10 time higher than in 1960, so minimum wage should be up to around $50 or $60 an hour.
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Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. ooops...
I didn't see the first line of your post where it said that min. wage in 1960 was $1, I was looking at the $6 figure ;)
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. Economy was doin pretty well then too. Then, along came Bank Americard...
Workers' pay no longer had to keep up with prices. People could keep spending, via the evil bank card, and nobody noticed the growing cancer on the economy. Employers did not have to keep raising rates of pay; they could sell their wares to underpaid employees who had the card!

Then, people had lost so much ground in the pay/cost of good race that people started needing plastic just to function. Sure, Nixon keep the lid on inflation via some artificial price controls, but we were sinking.

Carter took the rap for much of the problem that came before he did. Along came Reagan and his 'Greed is GOOD!' people and the air traffic controllers union got shit canned. The American worker was mortally wounded, it has just taken this long to notice our own demise.

I was a kid when all those 'Bank Americard' commercials were all over the airwaves. And even I could smell trouble.
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yes
When wages began falling behind in about 1973, the credit card made it's appearance in a big way.
The CEOs, since the advent of Reagan/Greenspan, increased their take ten fold, while we had to live on credit just to remain indoors.
The people at the top will have to take a lot less and spread that around if we are to survive as a nation.
With credit dried up, we either get higher wages or fold.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Worse: with the corporate strangle-hold on governments, the laws for, by & of corporations,
there are no independent nations, no real power save for corporate power. We are already seeing the future of war: corporate entities against each other in the making/enforcing of trade laws and financial instruments.

With no really self governed nations, laws for corporations, not people, we have a new sort of feudal system. There's those that get massive benefit from technology and those that have their resources taken from them, living with the toxic by-products of technology without conscious. Been sayin for decades that the GOP (working for the corporations) and too many DLC types are tools used to make America a Third World Nation, not through immigration, but economic poisoning of the working classes.

We are even treated to the religious fanaticism of the Dark Ages too. Then there are the many plagues just around the bend....

Feudal system, with the captains of industry as the Lords and Dukes with their own turf to fight over. We, the serfs, are just cannon fodder in these most unholy wars of commerce.

Shit, I need a drink.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #6
24. Here's something your thinking onthis is leaving out
Edited on Sun Apr-12-09 08:11 PM by truedelphi
The income tax situation has never been rectified to allow workers to keep the money they need.

So when my dad supported his wife and us two kids in the early fifties, on between $ 4500 and $ 6,000 a year (They never talked money - so I have never had the exact figures) he knew his lifestyle for us would include:
1) Nice living quarters in a two bedroom apartment - something like $ 110 a month for rent
2) a two week, really nice vacation - all meals at restaurants, gifts for whatevre relatvies we stayed with, etc
3) health insurance,and the doctor made house calls when we were sick
4) a new car, paid for with CASH, every four to five years
5) he always had at least $ 1,000 in hand in a savings account, in case he lost his job

When you realize that he got to take $ 1,200 a year as tax deductions, that left him paying taxes and Social Security (at 3% !! - not 8.25%)
on a mere $ 4,800 at the most.

So he gave out very little to Uncle Sam in taxes.
Fast forward to the early eighties - I was paying $ 645 a month rent, for an apartment not as nice as the one he had. Doing without insurance. Taking a vacation only every three years. Never buying a new car.

And paying a bundle on my tribute to the IRS - because inflation forced me into a higher tax bracket.

That is one reason why so many people began to live on credit - the bamks, insurance groups etc made sure that the income tax system was never set up fairly. That ensured that people would use plastic in order to survive.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Sorry, tax system is NOT the ONLY reason people started living on credit
Get real. Look at wage stagnation and credit use. Lockstep.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-14-09 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #27
50. I meant "Additionally" - I didn't mean tosuggest
That your concepts should be excluded. They are very good explanations of what has gone wrong.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
9. We can't go on offering easy access to debt to compensate
for depressed wages, either. Many people have reached their debt limit and can't add any more unless they want to go unsheltered, hungry, or naked.

Had wages kept pace with true inflation, we wouldn't be in this mess now. It all comes back to taking on debt that one can never afford to pay back just to increase the wealth at the top. Eventually all the debt based wealth is going to collapse, taking the whole economy with it.

It happened exactly the same way during the 1920s.

Every dime of debt most people have taken on represents lost wages.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #9
32. Naked would be cheapest and less painful, especially for those in the Sunbelt.

Maybe the government should provide special tax exemptions for nudist colonies. :silly:



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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #32
43. Sunburn
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. And don't forget college tuition and room, which in my case in the early fifties, were $165 each
per school at a major state university: doing the multiples on those really shows just how much young people are bing fucked over. And seem to recall student health insurance being $3 per month. :grr:
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Absolutely
College costs are insane!
When figuring this little exercise, I just wanted an idea of some basics to get a rough idea of what minimum should be.

I went to a state school from 1979-1983. Back then it was around $3K
Recently I checked my alma mater and saw it is now $17!

Frankly, I can't imagine how people with kids manage these days.

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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. And last month I had a talk with some idiot scolding young people for being disappointed
Yeah, we've got nothing to grouse about...
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
30. You recall student health insurance??
Ya know, I recently had a bout with the flu and it had me thinking of something that happened when I was an undergrad at a state college in 1979.

I caught a flu virus, went to the doc at the University Health Center. Doc said, "You're not leaving this place, I'm putting you in quarantine." Upon doctor's orders, I stayed at the center, which also included a 6-room mini-hospital ward, with a supervising nurse there 24/7. I was there three days and two nights, complete with meals, medications, and physical therapy (they had me do some breathing on some sort of inhaler tube).

Didn't cost me a nickel. The state of Michigan picked up the tab.

How things have changed.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-14-09 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #30
52. I had health insurance as a student through University of Arizona
I think they covered pretty much everything for around $200/semester. (1990's)
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Patiod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #10
35. My student loan payment in the 1980s was $88/mo
I'm thinking they're a smidge higher now...
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #35
37. We are paying over $750 a month
on student loans for our 2 daughters. :cry:
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
12. variable is that we had tariffs to protect workers that were used to provide free collage education
Edited on Sun Apr-12-09 06:47 PM by sam sarrha
for the poor to raise them out of poverty where they higher taxes. and corporations paid 80% of the income taxes, and there were actually immigration programs.. life was good and easy.. weed was $10 an ounce... for the really good shit
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
13. That's about what Ehrenreich said in Nickel & Dimed. k+r, n/t
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. i work a Union job now in Aerospace 3 yrs, for $1.50 less .
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. That is disgraceful.
I wonder how long it will be before Blackwater starts manufacturing?

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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
15. More Pay, not More Debt!
K&R
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FLAprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
16. Min. wage hasn't even been adjusted for inflation
If it was $1 in 1960 it should be (at least) $7.19 now.....
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surrealAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. That would be a good first step.
Minimum wage should increase automatically with inflation.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
19. 8 cents a year....
Edited on Sun Apr-12-09 07:54 PM by madrchsod
in 1938 the min wage was .25 and today it is 6.55

the charts tell the tale of the exploitation of the working class in america

http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
20. AND INDEXED TO INFLATION, like it used to be.
NT!

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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
22. I agree. Probably higher in some states, like CA and NY. nt
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
23. Outsourcing wasn't much of a problem in 1960
things are different now - raising the minimum wage is not enough.
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. You're right. We need more protectionism as well. nt
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
26. Makes sense, but not quite comparable
How big is the average house now and then? (not how bog should it be or could it be but IS). What kind of amenities does it have? The average house from 1960 costs less than 212K.

How much more refined, powerful, safe and heck even economical is the average new car now? You can buy a car with the features and power of a 1960 car for way less than $28K.
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. The house I grew up in...
had wood heat, a 60 amp fuze panel, no electrical outlets in the bedrooms and each had a single, pull chain light in the ceiling. The tv was a 13" black and white that received one channel. My mother hung out the clothes to dry on the clothesline in the backyard as we had no dryer.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #29
41. And probably was built before the 1960s I'm guessing
But the relevance is what exactly? Surely you do not contest that the average or cumulative housing stock is larger and has more amenities now than in 1960?
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #41
44. It was built by my grandfather in 1918
My parents raised 6 kids in that house just fine (altough I don't miss those damn cold winter nights in the unheated bedrooms). I don't recall what my father made in 1960 but as he worked in construction, I am pretty sure it was more then a dollar an hour.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #44
48. Good for him.
That is of course far more common in the past than now. If it were not, the average house price would be far less than $212K of course!
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
28. Inflation calculator
http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

$1.00 in 1960 had the same buying power as $7.17 does in 2009.
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-12-09 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
31. Other ways to calculate worth
http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare /

In 2008, $1.00 from 1960 is worth:
$16.09 using the nominal GDP per capita
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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
33. Workers wages have been stagnant or worse for years
BUT Executive compensation has gone through the roof. Some people took all the cookies out of the jar for themselves. Conscienceless, greedy pigs.

Lower level workers on the other hand see their wages not even keep up with inflation, the cost of their benefit contributions rising, and often their pension or retirement benefits being gutted.
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newportdadde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
34. Wages have been replaced credit.
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. And now credit is cut, housing values are in collapse and wages remain too low.
What will we live on?

We need to smash the current income inequality (the worst since the 1920s) or millions will go under.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
38. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. Yep - the $212,00 house comparison is nonsense,
Edited on Mon Apr-13-09 11:27 AM by progressoid
Also, houses have doubled in size since 1960 while families have shrunken. No one in their right mind would have even thought of getting such a home in 1960. We've been living beyond our means for too long.

Increase the minimum wage - YES! But that won't allow you to afford today's home. We need to go back to 1960 size homes, not today's McMansions.

edited to add: Welcome to DU!
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #39
40. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-14-09 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #39
49. ?
In 1964, our family bought a one family home in Queens NY.
The price was $21K
The house was built in the 1940s.
In the early 00's it sold for $575,000.

Same house. Not a McMansion.

Since the right-winger you responded to has since been tombstoned, I can't see what you responded to, but the comparison on old housing stock is not nonsense.
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #38
45. And MANY houses in MANY localities are MUCH MORE than that
Edited on Mon Apr-13-09 02:22 PM by HarukaTheTrophyWife
My 50-year-old fixer-upper (1k square ft) cost $250k. A couple years ago, that house would have sold for $300k+.
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Hawkowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
42. The Depression will continue
This is the main reason this Bush Depression will not be over anytime soon. Real wages have declined drastically over the last forty some years. Free trade has been an absolute failure.

It is a depression because prices have to deflate to adjust to what people can afford without having access to abnormal amounts of credit. It is going to take several years of hard times before we have a new economy. Wages simply must come up.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-13-09 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
46. Hell yeah we need higher wages.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-14-09 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
51. now they pay a dollar a day to workers in Mexico and Thailand
or privatized prisons..
and they wonder why no one is buying their shit.
outsourcing
shitty wages
and congress always gives itself a HUGE wage increase.
out of touch.
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