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Gee our old LaSalle ran great

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Somebody who was a law student of mine 30 years ago who I’ve kept in contact with because of our shared Michigan football fandom was bitching about how he had to pay nine dollars this morning at McDonald’s for “two puny sausage burritos and an iced coffee.” He considered this an “absurd” price, and while this might not be the pressing social justice controversy of the moment, it does capture a very general trend of complaining about how much everything costs these days, which in turn is a reflection of how peoples’ very inaccurate sense of the relation between nominal and real prices has lots of political implications.

So I did a bit of research and discovered the following:

Price of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in 1972: $.70

Average price of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in America in 2024: $5.34

The government’s CPI inflation calculator tells me that seventy cents in 1972 was equivalent to $5.29 last month.

Meanwhile, between 1972 and 2022 (the most recent available year), the National Average Wage index increased by 29%, which is admittedly terrible relative to the growth of per capita GDP over this time frame ($27,553 to $65,415 in constant dollars), but does reflect that in real terms a Quarter Pounder with Cheese ™ is far cheaper today than it was when this was the Billboard Top 100 for this week in 1972:

  • Heart Of Gold Neil Young
  • 2
    • A Horse With No Name America
  • 3
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight Robert John
  • 4
    • Without You Nilsson
    • 1
    • 1
    • 14
  • 5
    • Everything I Own Bread
    • 5
    • 5
    • 8
  • 6
    • Mother And Child Reunion Paul Simon
    • 12
    • 6
    • 7
  • 7
    • Precious And Few Climax
    • 6
    • 3
    • 12
  • 8
    • The Way Of Love Cher
    • 9
    • 8
    • 8
  • 9
    • Puppy Love Donny Osmond
    • 11
    • 9
    • 4
  • 10
    • Down By The Lazy River The Osmond

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