Where did the money go?0
Jon posted in Stuff on August 23rd, 2009
Not that money.
The summer of 1974 was my summer between high school and college. I had two jobs that summer. The first was bagging groceries for $2.10 and hour (minimum wage). The second was as an ironworker apprentice at $7.97 an hour. These numbers I remember very well.
I also remember my father, an iron worker journeyman, making $30,000 a year. But this memory isn’t as precise as the above. That number could be from the mid ’80s instead of the mid 70’s.
Let’s do the math. Using the inflation calculator at the Bureau of Labor Statistics I converted pay rates above to current dollars. Bagging groceries – $9.04. Ironworker apprentice – $34.30.
I don’t know what a bagger makes these days, but I do know that minimum wage is $2.49 less that it was in 1974. It’s about 27.5% less than what it would be if it kept up with inflation.
I recently found these hourly wages for journeymen Ironworkers on Wikipedia:
1970 – $7.97
1980 – $15.26
2002 – $24.15
That’s looks like quite a raise in income until you adjust for inflation. In 2008 dollars it looks like this:
1970 – $34.42
1980 – $39.38 (a 5% raise over a decade)
2002 – $28.75 (a 27% pay code over two decades)
Where did the money go? Why are we allowing the working class to be kicked out of the middle class?