Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bigger Dollar for Mad Men

Mad Men is ending so a marathon of all the episodes, the original form of binge watching, is required. Whether it is some reptilian brain learning trigger or just Newtonian inertia I get sucked in too. Some time on Saturday afternoon Peggy gets a job offer for 19,000 a year. She is middle management in the creative department of a New York ad agency in the late 1960's roughly. Fast forward to now, does just adding a zero to that number work? 190,000?

A couple episodes latter she's looking at an apartment, if I knew anything about NY I would remember where,  for 28,000. So 280,000? About that time is when Joane gets her partnership. In that discussion she mentions that 50,000 was four years salary. 12.500 for office manager and some book keeping at the same ad agency, so 125,000. That sounds high for an office manager, if that is a job onto itself any more. An accountant, Okay.

As a rule of thumb lets say multiply by 10 every 50 years. The official numbers say a 1965 dollar is worth about 7.5 dollars today. The U.S. numbers don't recognize that humans breath or eat or something important. Inflation in the past few years has been at or near ZERO. Is your cost of living the same as three or four years ago? In 2015 the number could be negative, falling oil(energy)prices? For ease of argument add a zero every 50 years. Ten dollars 2015 is a hundred in 2065 and a thousand in 2115.

Mad Indeed. Just dump the penny now. Why wait.

A worry is hyper-inflation, adding a zero every month or week. Isn't what we are doing now just glacial hyper inflation. If  the average holds ten dollars today will be the same as 100,000 dollars in 2215, do we just relabel the currency at some point. I think Mexico did that once. There is no way to wholly stop inflation in. The Chinese are playing games with their currency, I suspect reality quietly marches on and will trample their little games.

It would be informative to look at the percentage break down of products cost from Mad Men to now. Not the dollar amounts, the percentage of the final product cost. How much lower is the percentage of material? Is labor as a percentage up? The real interest is in percentage spent on regulatory cost, advertising, and lobbying? The little I knew of economics seems to be up in smoke these days. Although lobbying and advertising might help profits, do they along with regulation drive inflation higher?

Lengthy attacks on the inflation front have been made against the Federal Reserve.  Ignoring that nightmarish tangled mess the Federal Reserve is, an easily explained call it a repair might be possible. If the interest rate is akin to telling a brick layer building a house(a business) how may bricks can be afforded(costs to the business) then it needs to be accurate. If the Fed where restrained within a point or two of an average (plus or minus a preset static amount) of the top one hundred banks that would be more accurate. There are rates for any number of products that are directly on the Fed rate, understandably there will be more than a little adjustment. That seems far more possible that burning the Fed to the ground in one night.

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