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You Call This a Good Economy

发表于2004/10/12 16:19:00  855人阅读

分类: E文学

1            You have to have lived in the 1950s and 1960s to have experienced a good economy. In the period between 1950 and 1970 it was the rule—rather than the exception—that an ordinary family, without higher education, could sustain itself decently on the income of a single breadwinner. In 1955, when I was 19 and living in Brooklyn, N. Y., my father, who had a sixth-grade education, maintained our family of five on a wage of $82 a week as a bookbinder. My mother taught us fairness and compassion; my father, discipline and enterprise.

2            The U. S. economy in those years was good. Then where did this good economy go? It was inflated away. The price of gold, which I take as proxy for the prices of all goods, was $35 an ounce in those years. It is at roughly ten times that price today.

3            There is another answer, though: inflation caused the entire work force to be moved into higher tax groups, thus reducing after-tax purchasing power. That is, my father’s bindery job in1954 paid $82 a week, with $80 after deductions; today, at $ 820 per week the net would be $662.

4            To ordinary people, the economy doesn’t look very good at all. After-tax incomes continue to decrease in purchasing power. The jobs offered in the employment ads pay only a little more than the minimum wage, maybe $5 an hour, which, after payroll deductions, yields $4 an hour. Compare that with minimum-wage jobs of the early 1950s, when 75 cents was worth today’s $7.50 before and after taxes.

1.bookbinder (bind装订) 图书装订商
2.decent 合适的,适当的;体面的 本文取后者
3.breadwinner 养家糊口的人
4.Brooklyn 布林克林区(纽约的一个区)
5.payroll 工资本 a list of employees and the wages due to each

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