About Michael Moore\’s movie

How is it that Michael Moore\’s father could buy a house and raise a family on the income of one auto worker, and still have a pension for his retirement? And yet this is not possible in the vastly more productive economy of today?

Who says it\’s not possible?

If you\’re happy to have a 1950\’s style house, a 1950\’s style lifestyle, you can absolutely have one person making manufacturing industry wages (to say nothing of UAW style auto workers wages) and buy a house and raise a family and still have a pension.

What on earth are people talking about?

14 comments on “About Michael Moore\’s movie

  1. @Tim: that’s probably true in Detroit, given what’s happened to house prices there over the last couple of years.

    However, I’m not convinced that it works here: if I wanted to live in my own terraced house in Holloway, with electricity and hot water but no central heating, then even if I eschewed plane travel, modern gadgetery, etc, I’d struggle on a factory line wage.

    @Grassmarket: Frank Moore worked the assembly line. At most he was a supervisor, not an exec.

  2. “(yup, £15k for a 4-bed house in Detroit. I’m assuming Flint, MI is similar…)”

    I think that might be different if everyone in Flint had a job building cars for GM.

  3. No mention of the numerous lies, distortions and errors in Roger and Me? How surprising.

    Re raising a family on a single salary, it’s not easy; working women (or at least, two income families) have a lot to answer for.

  4. God it annoys me seeing that John B out in public ….
    Anyway Tim I am disappointed with you today , generally give good “slap-down” but today IMHO your aim is way off . In the late 50s my dad bought a semi in St Albans courtesy of a small loan from his and mum’s parents . He was a junior-ish Lloyds Broker at the time about 25

    Modern equivalent say £25,000 pa

    That house is now worth about £600,000 ish

    That’s a lot worse so what is better
    .
    I am struggling to think of anything we have acquired since the 50s that I could not do without . X Factor , Comprehensive education , colossal taxes crime out of control . Take the internet , fun it may be but not as fun as the provincial debating societies that once held debates of vastly higher quality . Oh hang on we have got a flood of unwanted immigrants, what good has that actually done ? Society has become trivial , spiritual concerns are mocked by smart arse secular rationalists who do not even understand the question let alone have the answer. Ok food is better but we are fatter and have heart attacks and everyone is so obsessed with their feelings ( only their feelings )
    Often there is false gain , we did not have IVF , yeah but we did not need it because women had families in their twenties as they were designed to .I `ll take the 50s any day it was decent time .All of whuch goes to show , if any proof were needed , that change is bad

  5. House price inflation has far outstripped any other inflation and certainly wage inflation. The Englishman recently posted a house in some village somewhere that was £6000 in 1971 and is now £475000.

    Not Ricardo’s Law Of Rent in action (since the said law is actually wrong); it’s because central bank credit acts as a parallel currency pegged 1:1 with sterling, and since a very high proportion of credit is “invested” in housing, there is rampant inflation of the “house pound”.

    The economy actually is seriously messed up. We can buy more of many goods because they have deflated faster than the currency has inflated (e.g. tech goods) but overall most of the growth has ended up in the hands of the few who feed at the government trough, (and that includes many in the pretends-to-be-but-not-really-private-sector financial services, benefitting from the credit expansion as it sprays from the government’s money cannons directly in front of them). If we’d had a free market for the past few decades, the wealth would be a lot more spread around.

  6. Not so. It’s house prices that inflate, not specifically land values. IOW, it’s the improved value inflating, not the LVTers’ beloved unimproved value (that does increase as well, but even a 100% LVT would fall far short of the inflated property value).

  7. I work in the car business now in the UK. Engineers of the generation before me retired at 50 on 2/3 final salary, index linked. I’m 46, they are eroding my pension scheme every year. I might not be able to retire at 65 on whatever my defined contributions get me, if there are still jobs in automotive by then. The answer to MM is: people are paying a lot less for a car in real terms, and the cars last a lot longer.

  8. I suspect that a lot of women’s salaries have gone into housing inflation. A single worker’s wages could buy a decent house way back when because everyone else was a single worker. Now a single worker household has trouble because it has to compete with double income households. So MM may have a point.

    On the other hand, would we want to exclude women from the workforce for that reason?

  9. Ian B,

    Nope the land value has inflated, the rebuilding cost has remained static.

    Not quite , land without planning permission is worthless .Its the “Plot ” that is expensive not the land

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