Vintage fridge

Vintage fridge (Photo credit: hyperakt)

Economist Donald Boudreaux has once again blown away the smoke surrounding the mantra of the day: we’re getting poorer, having to make do with less, our children will suffer even more than we do, etc., etc. It’s awful. Something must be done!


He performs an exercise that others have performed in the past: he looks in a 1956 Sears catalog and compares the prices of common items to those charged today for those same items. Then he calculates the amount of hours of labor required to pay for them. are facts. is truth. As Winston Churchill once said, “ is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but there it is.”

Here it is:

First, he figures that the average wage today is just under $20 an hour. In 1956 it was $1.89 an hour. (That is not a misprint).

Then Boudreaux asks the key question:

How long did a typical American worker have to toil in 1956 to buy a particular sort of good compared to how long a similarly typical American worker today must toil to buy that same (or similar) sort of good?

He looks at refrigerator-freezers, kitchen ranges, televisions and automatic washing machines.  I’ll just look at one of them:

Sears’s lowest-priced no-frost refrigerator-freezer in 1956 had 9.6 cubic feet, in total, of space.  It sold for $219.95 (in 1956-dollar prices).  (You can find a lovely black-and-white photograph of this mid-’50s fridge on page 1036 of the 1956 Sears catalog.)  Home Depot today sells a 10 cubic-foot no-frost refrigerator-freezer for $298.00 (in 2012-dollar prices).

Then he does the math for us. It’s amazing:

Therefore, the typical American worker in 1956 had to work a total of 219.95/1.89 hours to buy that 9.6 cubic-foot fridge – or a total of 116 hours.  (I round to the nearest whole number.)  Today, to buy a similar no-frost refrigerator-freezer, the typical American worker must work a total of 298.00/19.79 hours – or 15 hours.

That is, to buy basic household refrigeration and freezing, today’s worker must spend only 13 percent of the time that his counterpart in 1956 had to spend. (my emphasis)

The results for the other items he compares are equally startling. The things that happen when we aren’t paying attention!  And in the process puts the lie to the mantra.

Opt In Image
Soak Up More Light from the Right
with a free copy of Bob's most popular eBook!

Sign up to to receive Bob's explosive articles in your inbox every week, and as a thank you we'll send a copy of his most popular eBook - completely free of charge!

How can you help stop the 's latest gun grab? How is the deceiving America today? What is the latest administration coverup? Sign up for the Light from the Right email newsletter and help stop the progressives' takeover of America!