Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Economy and History

I often stress history because it tells a lot of lessons.

When I was a 1968....a burger at McDonalds cost eighteen cents.  The soda at the school break area?  It was ten cents.

Seven years later?  The same burger would cost  you around thirty cents, and the soda would have cost around twenty cents.  A substantial rise?  Yeah....partly because of the economy, and partly because of the escalation of oil pricing.

I did some research.  If you were around in 1970 and desiring college in would have paid around $390 for the entire year....for tuition.  Books, food and housing would have been the substantial stumbling block for your lifestyle.  Today?  That year of tuition at the same university in Utah is $7000.  The books, food and housing?  Probably triple what they were in 1970.

In 1940, you could have bought a simple plain wood house....for around $3,920.  Today, in a non-urban'd need to spend around $65,000 to get the same plain house.

In 1970, you could buy gas for around thirty-six cents a gallon.  Filling the tank up?  It would around five bucks.

For the greater part of the 1970s....economists generally agree that most folks when thrust into unemployment.....were there for fifteen weeks.  Today?  It's closer to being greater than thirty-seven weeks (more than double).  You then consider that there weren't advertised jobs off the internet, highly trained HR squads in companies, or fancied-up resumes in existence.  You generally had some typist fix up one generic resume and made a few copies of it.  In effect, we have three times the effort, the cost, and the delay built into hiring today.....than in 1970.

Industry jobs?  The economists say that we had around eighteen million Americans in 1970's industry.  Today?  We barely have twelve million occupying jobs in industry.  Automation, foreign production, and smarter production values all helped.  There's probably one million Vietnamese folks who are today part of the American industrial cycle....supporting the needs of America....while residing in Vietnam.  If you had said that in 1970....people would have laughed you out of the room.

Locking things?  In 1970....most folks NEVER locked their car-doors, and probably over half of America never locked the door to their house.  Today?  We not only lock the car-doors, but we invested in car alarms and various devices to defeat the thugs.  Our homes?  Alarms installed, and we all have guns in various corners to meet the thugs head-on.

Economists will tell you that in 1970....roughly one in fifty Americans were on some type of public assistance (food stamps, welfare, etc).  Today?  One in six.  Who paid for the difference? the taxpayer.  Could we eventually get it down to one in four?  Yeah, probably so.

In 1970, I had access to four channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Alabama Public Access channel....the educational channel as we called it).  Today?  My dad has the satellite TV deal fixed up and could have four-hundred channels flowing into the house.  To be honest, once it got up to ten possibilities....that was all we kinda needed.  The rest?  Just wasted digital space.

You'd think there was some lesson learned out of this history lesson.  But no.....there's nothing much we can learn.  We are simply walking toward further out and wondering just how big a mess you could fall into.

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