Bill Bonner Diary 4/5/2016
All wage and inflation numbers are a little fishy. So, let’s keep it simple.
The basic transportation for a working man 40 years ago was the Ford F-150 pickup truck.
In 1976, that truck, the SuperCab model, had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4,600. That was when the average working stiff earned $9,300 a year. So, it took 25 weeks of work to pay for the truck.
Today, the F-150 is still the preferred working man’s wheels. And today, it has a MSRP of $26,600 – or 5.7 times as much. But the average person doesn’t earn 5.7 times as much. The median wage today is $43,600. So now, a prole earning the median wage has to work 30 weeks to pay for the truck.
This man is not better off. He’s worse off. And he’s been made worse off by advanced American crony capitalism.
Yes, most people live better than they did in the 1970s. Technological and commercial progress has improved the quality of the things we live with. There are more choices in the supermarkets… in Walmart… and online.
Today’s F-150 is better, in many ways, than the F-150 from 40 years ago. Houses are bigger and more comfortable. Air conditioning is more widespread. Communication channels and entertainment are better than ever.
But though life is easier and more agreeable for most people, few people have more real money.
They have more things. And more credit. But they are deeper in debt… more vulnerable to a downturn… and more dependent on the government and the credit industries.”