The 1960Today series of articles have focused on comparing CPI inflation adjusted 1960 costs to today's costs. The CPI only covers "consumer" products and services. It does not cover the state, local or the Federal government taxes and fees. It also my understanding that does not include expenses such as college and health care costs. As the numbers have shown, these are significant omissions.

    Yearly Expenses per Average Household
Category                       1960    1960Today    2008

Food                             $1,681    $11,681      $11,058
General Household         $2,491    $17,314      $24,305
Transportation                $  759     $  5,277     $  9,601
Health Insurance            $  107     $     741     $13,968
Federal Taxes                $1,884    $13,096      $21,138
State & Local Taxes       $  767     $ 5,331      $12,637  Total Expenses              $7,689    $53,440      $92,707

             Income per Average Household
Category                      1960    1960Today    2008

Gross Personal Income $7,793    $54,161       $96,444
Less Expenses            ($7,689)  ($53,440)   ($92,707)
What's left                    $   104    $    721       $  3,737

Editor's Analysis:
Even though the salary data generally showed a lower percentage increase, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis "Personal Income" value will be used. This Personal Income value is flawed because it includes all income beyond salaries including profits from the sale of homes and business contributions to retirement and medical insurance plans. The personal income number is also inflated by the trend toward two income families and paid childcare.

The "What's Left" amount shows that even with today's two income families, there is very little more left to after paying for the necessities than in 1960. The data shows that the increases in government costs and health care costs have consumed most of the growth in personal income. With everything being equal, it now takes two incomes to match a lifestyle enjoyed by our parents or grand parents in 1960. It is hoped that the 1960Today costs can serve as goals at what might be possible, if the citizens insist on prundent financial management. 

August 25, 2008
The Federal Reserve (Fed) issues weekly reports where it estimates the amount of money available to purchase goods and services. There are different ways of  measuring the money supply, M1, M2 and up until 2006 they also had a third more expansive M3. However, there are still are estimates available for M3. There are economists that view increases in the money supply as the source of inflation. To help bring some relevance to the data, the gross numbers will be presented in a per household (per family) basis.

M1 (Per Family)  1960 1960Today  2008
Currency (Cash) $  545 $ 3,791 $  6,654
Traveler Checks $    6 $    39 $     54
Checking Acc'ts $2,100 $14,598 $  5,295
M1 Total        $2,651 $18,428 $ 12,003

M2 (Per Family)  1960 1960Today  2008
M1 Total        $2,651 $18,428 $ 12,003 Savings Acc'ts  $2,776 $19,297 $ 34,258
Small CD's      $  219 $ 1,527 $ 10,761
Money Market    $    0 $     0 $  8,661
M2 Total        $5,648 $39,252 $ 65,684

M3 (Per Family)  1960 1960Today  2008

M2 Total        $5,648 $39,252 $ 65,684
Large CD's      $   23 $   158 $ 12,322
Money Funds     $    0 $     0 $ 16,948
RPS (Fed Loans) $    0 $     0 $  4,963
Eurodollars     $   13 $    92 $  3,721
M3 Total        $5,684 $39,502 $121,253

Editor's Analysis:
It is surprising how much currency is in circulation considering we are becoming a "cashless" society. Some must be held in banks in reserve but I wonder how much of that $6,654 is supporting illegal activities.

The change in M2's value appears to closely match the change in the GNP. However, the more inclusive, M3 measure is growing much faster than the other measures. This is where most of the Fed's actions show up as well as the increase in Eurodollars since 1960 due to our huge trade deficit. The huge rise of the money supply as measured by M3 should be a big concern to all Americans.

September 30, 2008
There has been a lot of concern about global warming. The following weather data was obtained from The 1960 and 2008 World Almanacs which received its information from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The cities presented were randomly selected smaller cities from around the country and are representative of other cities not presented. Each represents the average of the previous 30 years. The temperature presented is the"normal" temperature which is the mean between the average high and the average low for the days of the indicated month.

Mean Temperature Between the High and Low
July Temperatures       1960    2000
Albany, New York         72F     71F
Birmingham, Alabama      80F     80F
Columbus, Ohio           75F     75F
Galveston, Texas         83F     84F
Helena, Montana          68F     68F
Kansas City, Missouri    81F     79F
Phoenix, Arizona         91F     93F
Portland, Oregon         69F     68F
San Diego, California    70F     71F
Nine City Average       76.6F   76.6F

January Temperatures    1960    2000

Albany, New York         23F     22F
Birmingham, Alabama      46F     43F
Columbus, Ohio           31F     28F
Galveston, Texas         55F     56F
Helena, Montana          19F     20F
Kansas City, Missouri    31F     27F
Phoenix, Arizona         51F     54F
Portland, Oregon         40F     40F
San Diego, California    56F     58F
Nine City Average       39.1F   38.7F

Editor's Analysis:
It appears that by selecting which city you want to study, an argument could be made for either global warming or for global cooling. It also appears that Columbus, Ohio will not have Birmingham's climate anytime in the near future. 

October 5, 2008
Return to Home Page  Go to Next 1960Today Articles
Copyright 2008; All rights reserved.