from The Duluth News Tribune; Sept. 10, 1914 via The Oregonian Blog (pdf)
Adjusting for inflation, the buying power of $40.22 in 1914 would be roughly equivalent to $907.65 in 2012, according to dollartimes.com.
And I'm flying round trip DLH to Long Beach, CA for $650 on Delta next month.....
And it should take way less than a week to get there!
I understand what you are saying about "buying power" as Joel says a similar trip is just a bit more than your estimate. (Although I should say that a plane ride vs a rail journey isn't exactly a "similar" trip when you consider what you are getting in terms of quality of trip vs. lenght).
BUT, I am wondering if there is a distinction of some sort between "buying power" and "earning power." For example, if a person earned $40 a week in 1914 would that person earn $900 a week in today's dollars? I have a hunch that it may have been easier to come up with $40 in 1914 than it is to find $900 today. Things like inflation and amortization, etc are all very confusing to me.
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