I’ve posted before on the purchasing power of the silver quarter from 1964. Here’s an interesting item The Internet cooked up recently:
Here’s the breakdown:
The minimum wage in 1964 was raised to $1.15 in September; pretty close to the five quarters. The exact exchange would be four quarters and one and a half dimes, which today (March 4, 2013) equals $23.81, or more than three times the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Interestingly enough, those coins contain 0.83 oz. of silver (along with some copper), which is equal to $23.78; pretty close to the $23.81 above.
The same $1.15 of goods in 1964 would cost a consumer $8.54 today, an increase of more than 700 percent. So in order to provide the same purchasing power the minimum wage would have to be closer to fifty bucks an hour.
Something else to consider is that roughly 1/4 of the minimum wage at the time would buy a gallon of gas ($0.30/ gallon). Today it takes closer to 1/2 of the minimum wage to buy a gallon ($3.74/ gallon).
Of course the answer is not to raise the minimum wage, but instead to put an end to central bank money creation and allow competition in currency.