Are Americans working longer and harder today for the same level of overall material wealth?

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TedKennedy

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Nowadays, it seems, you have to have bachelors and/or masters degree-level employment to own such stuff. America was a great nation with a heavy manufacturing and traditional industrial/building trades base. The Democrats largely let everybody in and his dog from abroad.

Can't blame just the Democrats. Plenty of Republicans created the laws that allowed us to get where we are. Why do you think illegals came here in the 1980s? Ronnie Reagan implemented the first amnesty that brought the flood. Companies that hired illegals for cheap bought politicians on both sides to keep the wheels turning.
 

AlongCameJones

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probably should do a debt to asset ratio from previous generations to current generations.
My family lived on a CASH economy, cash was king. We were happy without all that electronic geek crap. We enjoyed simple innocent things: going to the beach, going to the carnival, baseball games, fresh green mown lawns and Sunday barbecues. Fishing, hunting, canoeing, camping, hiking. Schwinn Varsity ten-speed bicycles. Our beloved family dogs. Christmases by the warm brick hearth at grandma's. Kodak Instamatic cameras saved memories. Polaroid land cameras too. Those were the happiest days of our lives. We had a 3-br home plenty big built in 1965. In now very expensive San Mateo County, California. Television was great from the rooftop Radio Shack Archerotor antenna. 1970 America ... Who could ask for anything more!
 
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rc508pir

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A lot of consumer electronics were still made in the US in 1981. The same products today, made in the US would be consideralbly more expensive
 

TedKennedy

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A lot of consumer electronics were still made in the US in 1981. The same products today, made in the US would be consideralbly more expensive

So Chubby McWaddle has to live with only one TV, built by American hands, instead of buying three and fortifying the Chinese economy?

I'm in.
 
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harley128

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Is the modern American working class working longer hours, working harder (burning more calories), and/or enjoying less R&R time than their parent's generation and/or grandparents' did to enjoy a similar level of material wealth? The material goal of the American middle-class has generally always been a new suburban single-family unit home and at least one new car in the household. Still, we want plenty of personal time to go boating, fishing, hunting, camping, go to the skeet field to prep for dove season, train our retrievers for pheasant and duck, and go on holiday for the summer. Outdoors people want the time and means to play as hard as they work. We don't want to spend all our personal time painting the house, putting in new toilets, repairing wiring and fixing fences so a new home under warranty is attractive in that way. It's more fun to hunt and fish than to weed and mow lawns on weekends.

Do we have to have a higher level of education these days than our parent's and grandparent's did to enjoy a certain level of living? How many man-hours does a carpenter, electrician, machinist, welder, plumber, mechanic, etc. by trade have to work to pay for a new car or a new home now vs 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago?

I'm trying to determine how strong our earning and buying power is now vs any other time in our history. Prices and costs of living have gone up. Are our earnings generally on par with the general cost of things? How much time and energy are we devoting these days to having things of economic value vs previous generations' effort to do such?

Is it now tougher for a bachelor (single adult) to acquire a certain degree of a material wealth and live a middle-class standard of living now than at any time before in our history? Being a bachelor eliminates a spouse as possible source of extra income.


I did a calculation

1981 Toyota Corolla most expensive model original MSRP: $7,000
1981 federal min. wage = $3.35/hr.
federal min. wage hours worked to achieve gross pay to cover MSRP: 2,089

1995 Toyota Corolla most expensive model original MSRP: $17,000
1995 federal min. wage=$4.25/hr.
federal min. wage hours worked to achieve gross pay to cover MSRP: 4,000

2021 Toyota Corolla most expensive model original MSRP: $28,000
2021 federal min. wage=$7.25/hr.
federal min. wage hours worked to achieve gross pay to cover MSRP: 3,860


You can see that a new well-equipped 1995 Toyota Corolla was significantly harder to work for than a similar car in 1981 based upon fed. min. wage. Almost double the work hours needed to cover new car price. A new 2021 such car is not quite as hard to earn as it was in 1995. Fed. min. wage is way under par with the costs of things now vs 40 years ago. Look at how much longer and harder you have to work nowadays for a new well-equipped econobox vs 40 years ago.

Does a carpenter or mason in 2021 with 5 years on-the-job experience have to work longer and harder to buy a new well-equipped Toyota truck in 2021 or a new SFU home than he did in 1981 and/or 2001? These are skilled trades.

Still, by my calculation above it seems a McDonald's burger-flipper in 1981 could buy a decent new or used car then with many less hours worked than he can now. American working class had significant more buying power 40 years ago. At least the min. wage class could buy more in 1981 for their thin slice of take-home bread.

Over the past 40 years, fed. min. wage has slightly more than doubled but new econobox prices have quadrupled. Have the wages of carpenters, machinists, masons, electricians and plumbers also at least quadrupled over the past 40 years?
I think your analysis has merit. One thing to thing about though is to compare the average mileage life span of that 1981 Corolla with the average mileage lifespan of the 2021 Corolla............. Also, interesting to see the mpg difference between the two also. But, I can't disagree with your analysis.
 

Rod Snell

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Using my base year of 1967, the CPI inflation factor to 2021 is MULTIPLY BY EIGHT. Naturally, some items increased more, like US muscle cars, and some increased less, like consumer electronics. My 1967 Dodge, with 375 (real) horsepower, cost $3250, which inflated would be $26,00, but the 2021 Dodge Scat Pack costs $45,000 thanks to the EPA, other Govt regulations, options not available in 1967, and new electronic goodies we now REQUIRE. The new car is smaller, ugly, handles better, and does it on half the gas, but the acceleration is surprisingly about the same as in 1967.
In 1967 I set a goal to retire on about 10,000/yr with a savings of a quarter million. And if you multiply that by eight for inflation, that is what I did. To do it, I got a Bachelors and Masters in applied physics. The dollar numbers now are larger, but they don't buy any more, and the quality of clothes, houses, home consumer goods has declined significantly, and become more "throw away".
I come from a family of teachers, and taught Jr college 13 years myself, and the standards for education have gone down, well, they are in the toilet. I have the math book my grandfather used in High School, and the average college student cannot work the problems in it. In 13yrs, the Jr College changed math texts twice, each time taking out the hard problems and dumbing it down.
You can get a High School diploma with straight "C" grades without really learning the core subjects, the three R's. (Not riotin', racism. and rewards). It takes 2 years of jr college remedial courses to get a student up to where they should have been when the graduated high school, and only 13% of Jr College students get any kind of degree anywhere, even an associate's.
My uncles who were metal workers, carpenters, electricians, and telephone maintainers only had high school diplomas, but could do more math than today's average college student. And THAT's why the US now ranks only 22nd in core education.

My solution is as simple as it is unpopular and impossible with the current education system: set and enforce real standards, and make the diplomas and degrees mean something. That means the lazy and incompetent students will get F and repeat or quit. In 1850, a fifth grade education meant a student could could read and do 5th grade math, which half our "high school graduates" CANNOT DO. Rant over, thanks if you got this far.
 
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TedKennedy

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Using my base year of 1967, the CPI inflation factor to 2021 is MULTIPLY BY EIGHT. Naturally, some items increased more, like US muscle cars, and some increased less, like consumer electronics. My 1967 Dodge, with 375 (real) horsepower, cost $3250, which inflated would be $26,00, but the 2021 Dodge Scat Pack costs $45,000 thanks to the EPA, other Govt regulations, options not available in 1967, and new electronic goodies we now REQUIRE. The new car is smaller, ugly, handles better, and does it on half the gas, but the acceleration is surprisingly about the same as in 1967.
In 1967 I set a goal to retire on about 10,000/yr with a savings of a quarter million. And if you multiply that by eight for inflation, that is what I did. To do it, I got a Bachelors and Masters in applied physics. The dollar numbers now are larger, but they don't buy any more, and the quality of clothes, houses, home consumer goods has declined significantly, and become more "throw away".
I come from a family of teachers, and taught Jr college 13 years myself, and the standards for education have gone down, well, they are in the toilet. I have the math book my grandfather used in High School, and the average college student cannot work the problems in it. In 13yrs, the Jr College changed math texts twice, each time taking out the hard problems and dumbing it down.
You can get a High School diploma with straight "C" grades without really learning the core subjects, the three R's. (Not riotin', racism. and rewards). It takes 2 years of jr college remedial courses to get a student up to where they should have been when the graduated high school, and only 13% of Jr College students get any kind of degree anywhere, even an associate's.
My uncles who were metal workers, carpenters, electricians, and telephone maintainers only had high school diplomas, but the could do more math than today's average college student. And THAT's why the US now ranks only 22nd in core education.

My solution is as simple as it is unpopular and impossible with the current education system: set and enforce real standards, and make the diplomas and degrees mean something. That means the lazy and incompetent students will get F and repeat or quit. In 1850, a fifth grade education meant a student could could read and do 5th grade math, which half our "high school graduates" CANNOT DO. Rant over, thanks if you got this far.
Preach brother!

You are 100% correct.
 
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