True Value of a Dollar – What’s Changed from Sydney to Athens to the Beijing Olympics?
If asked, “How much is a dollar worth?” there are probably a number of responses that immediately jump to mind. Perhaps some would go the mathematical route by saying, “four quarters,” “ten dimes,” “twenty nickels,” or “100 pennies.” Others may relate the value of a dollar to the price of things they buy frequently, responding, “about the price of a cup of coffee,” “a quarter of a gallon of gas,” or “about 6.8755 Chinese Yuan.”
Now think back a few years to what your answers would have been in 2004 or even 2000. With the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing upon us, let’s use the Olympics as a time marker. Clearly the first set of answers – “four quarters,” “ten dimes,” “twenty nickels,” or “100 pennies” – would remain the same. But what about the second, more qualitative set of answers?
For example, if we look back four years to the previous Olympic Games (when the 2004 games were taking place in Athens), the average gasoline price in the United States was under $2.00 a gallon, less than half its current rate. Four years before that (when the 2000 games were taking place in Sydney ) the average price of gas was even less.
Across the United States , minimum wage has also experienced adjustments over the past few years. In addition it seems that inflation is never-ending.
As a result, it seems that the true value of a dollar is not a simple topic to discuss, but rather is one of Olympic proportions, with no right or wrong answer. Even more clear is that it is impossible to deliver the same answer when asked about the value of a dollar when asked in two different Olympic years.