What's In Your Wallet?
Or why is my dollar worth 14 times more than your dollar?
By Charles Novitsky
Since I was fortunate to find a dollar from the year I was born on Ebay, I decided to create a little tutorial for our libertarian Inflation Education kiosk. San Diego Libertarian Party members will place it outside local supermarkets in San Diego. The purpose of the kiosk is to educate people about the damage being done to the incomes and savings of most Americans by the Federal Reserve System.
Few can understand the monetary shenanigans that Washington DC has unconstitutionally conjured since the birth of the Fed in 1913. But if we aim to get the unaware public involved, we need to get their attention.
Saul Alinsky, the notorious lefty radical, would have advised, to do that by getting them where it hurts. In the current economy of stagnant wages and rising prices, that hurt is in people’s wallets. One of this year’s SDLP public outreach projects is thus to meet shoppers as they go to buy food to feed their families. Many are frustrated by higher and higher prices they must pay each year. The goal of the new Libertarian Inflation Education booth to motivate them to action.
Below is one of the small displays we’ve created so far. It shows what a dollar from the year I was born, 1957, would buy in comparison with today’s dollars. The 1957 dollar is a "Silver Certificate" and thus payable in silver. The price of silver in 1957 was $1.29 per ounce. So each dollar was worth 0.775 ounces of silver. Today’s dollar buys 0.0531 ounces of silver or about 1/14th of what it bought 57 years ago.
The Fed no longer redeems dollars for silver, but the damage to the average consumer’s purchasing power is almost this great. According to the consumer price index (CPI) Inflation Calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s dollar buys 12 percent of what the 1957 dollar bought.
The BLS has a strong incentive to understate the real decline in purchasing power of a dollar because the CPI is used to adjust Social Security payments and government worker’s pensions. In 57 years, crop yields and productivity of farms and factories has risen substantially. Yet none of this savings has trickled down to consumers. They now pay more than eight times as many dollars for the goods and services they buy as they did when I was born.
For a printable, downloadable PDF copy of this 8.5 x 11 inch mini-poster click here http://www.sdlp.org/sites/default/files/american 1957 silver certificate dollar inflation mini poster.pdf