walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Fact Checking an Idiot Excerpted on Stephen Colbert

Obviously, lots of people had fun with Marco Rubio. Let's just leave it at that.

The actual idiot who caught my attention, however, was an ancient -- but well-preserved -- geezer on Fox News saying he was happy to be paid 85c/hour when he was in high school.

I got the wrong Bob Luddy. The Bob Luddy I should have gotten is the one in North Carolina who
was born in the early-mid 1940s and would have been 17 under Kennedy. His 85c/hour would work out to $3.04 when I was in high school and $6.38 now.

He's not strictly speaking a geezer at all, and isn't as it turns out, well preserved; TV makes him look older than his not-quite-70 (or maybe TV just depicts him accurately, but I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt).

Don't blog in haste and anger, I guess. My bad. If I had realized he was this age, I probably would have just rolled my eyes, because I know way too many people from that cohort with that set of opinions. I was a bit shocked to run into someone as old as I thought he was with that dippy an idea about how to adjust for inflation. Another factor in his objection to the proposed $10 national minimum wage likely reflects the circumstances he has been accustomed to through the course of his entire life (North Carolina, vs. living in northern states with higher wages/benefits and an higher expected standard of living, better schools, etc.).

And I will commit to pausing longer before blogging when irritated by someone talking about When I Was Young. I should at least work harder to get the age calculation right. :(

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- EVERYTHING BELOW HERE IS TOTALLY WRONG! Sorry -=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-
I understand geezer is rude, but I mean it: this guy is _old_. Googling turned the heard name to an actual name of "Robert Luddy", and a little additional googling (a census record from 1940 may have been involved) suggests he was born in 1928. So he's actually a pretty well preserved 84 or thereabouts.

Anyway. Let's assume his "high school" job was held at age 17, give or take, and then plug his 85c/hour into a CPI inflator to figure out what that would be in today's dollars.

Answer: $10.84.

Luddy should not be complaining about raising the national minimum wage to $10/hour and then using his 85c nominal wage from 1945 as evidence against ON A BUSINESS NEWS PROGRAM.

What the hell is wrong with you people? Think we can't do math? Think we can't look at a geezer and go, dude, you're over 80. 85c back then _was_ a decent wage. That's all we're asking for people now, is what you got back then.

ETA: For reference purposes, when I was working a minimum wage job in high school, I was getting $3.35, IIRC (google suggests I recall correctly, but you just never know). CPI inflator for his 85c/an hour sez $5.18 in 1986.

Here's the inflator I use:


If you are really anti-government and have an inflator you prefer to use, don't hesitate to share. But my experience has been that most alternative inflators don't show _less_ inflation, so for these purposes, those will just tend to make my point even pointier.

ETAYA: Hmmmm. Now I'm wondering if I got the wrong Luddy. Maybe he's not that old. . .
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