From a Reader

In a recent article you referenced the \’Burrito Index\’ which is quite telling. This has gotten me to think about beef and chicken pot pies… As a young man (1969-1970)… as a member of the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks… I worked for the Union Pacific Railroad (DC&H division). During that time I was earning about $4.50/hour which returned me about $35/day. In those days being challenged in the kitchen my main staple was chicken and beef pot pies. These were the \’standard\’ pie which weighed in around 16 ounces and made for a filling meal… not the smaller version commonly seen today which is a 7 ounce pie. I used to purchase these at the local supermarket (I believe it was a Safeway) – 10 for $1. In this context I was able to potentially purchase 350 beef and/or chicken potpies with a day\’s pay. This was a time when gold was priced at $35/ounce. So it would also be true to state not only that I was earning one ounce of gold for a day\’s work but that one ounce of gold could purchase 350 beef pot pies. It is interesting that a similar pot pie currently sells at for about $4.00. Doing the math 350 of these pies would run about $1,400 which is not far from the current price for an ounce of gold. I should also note that after working for the UPRR for several years I was able to quit work and get an undergraduate degree from a state university. This did put me in debt (tuition, room and board, books, all incidentals) to the tune of $1,700 – an amount that was easily serviced in those days. What I feel I am unable to explain… certainly to anyone who did not live through this era… is the sense of empowerment that was derived from what I can only describe as \’Prosparity.\’ After a lifetime of work I earn considerably more than minimum wage… more than the average wage in this country. But with respect to gold and its \’buying power\’ – I earn about 1/2 what I did as a young man in 1969.