Tracing financial ruin back to 1954 prices

An article in the March 25 Altoona Mirror’s Community section states that in 1954, RCA produced a color television with a 12-inch picture tube that sold for $1,000 each, which in today’s economy would be $8,700.

When we look at figures like this, we can understand the destruction of the middle class and why we have only the rich and the poor.

If we look back to 1954, the price of gasoline was less than 30 cents a gallon and the cost of heating oil for our homes and businesses was around 15 cents a gallon. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The trend goes through everything in our lives – things like professional services, such as hospital services, food, home care and maintenance and more.

Cities like Altoona are bordering on bankruptcy, and the company which picked up our garbage collection is getting financial help from the state to purchase trucks. We were wrong not to keep our service, and we may have seen a turnaround in the city’s finances.

I asked a former mayor why we have these big buses when smaller ones would be more efficient and cheaper. He told me the reason for it is the government gives us the buses free. These problems will destroy us. We talk of term limits, but we can elect people and the rich industrialists saturate our federal government and our state capitols with lobbyists that have enough money to buy the votes of our elected legislators, and get any laws passed that they want.

Our government should make lobbying illegal, and we would see results of better legislation. It is not hard to figure out how the “nest egg” for retirement has disappeared and the people who worked and saved for retirement have seen it washed away.

Joe Wiedemer