Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Rich Girl

Saturday when I was driving I heard the song "Rich Girl" by Hall & Oats. This song came out in 1977 when I was in high school. And there was one girl who immediately got labeled "Rich Girl." Her name was Shelly and her family was well off. They always had a new Cadillac and lived in a big house. I had no idea what her father did to earn his wealth.

One day in English class, the teacher was trying to instruct us not to use vague terms in our writing. So she asked the class what was a "comfortable" yearly salary. She wanted to show the range that people thought that term meant.

I think the low was $15,000. I rather shocked the room when I said $25,000. Then Shelly pipes up with $30,000.

What struck me as I was remembering this is how low those numbers were. Now days $25,000 is about poverty level for a family of four (it's actually $25,100).

So we need to adjust those numbers for inflation. One thousand dollars in January 1977 is equivalent to $4,300 today. So...

$15,000 = $64,500
$25,000 = $107,500
$30,000 = $129,000

Of course, 1977 was at the beginning of the double-digit inflation of the end of Jimmy Carter's presidential term. And we've had forty-one years of varying inflation to degrade the dollar.

Or maybe this is just an indication of how old I am.

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