Man Compares Economic Situation Of Today With The Great Depression And The Results Are... Not Good

The numbers surrounding inflation today vs. the Great Depression are somber.

inflation today vs great depression, money @averagejoegam3 via TikTok / Bruna Saraiva, John Guccione and Rico Laguilles via Canva

The Great Depression is known as the worst recession in American history, but one man is suggesting that today's economy might actually be worse — and it seems he has the stats to prove it.

The Great Depression was a decade-long financial crisis that defined 1930s America. Though the Federal Reserve has called it "the longest and deepest downturn in the history of the United States and the modern industrial economy," a man who goes by Average Joe on TikTok shared facts that beg the question: can that still be said today? 


The man claims “Americans are getting gaslit" into believing the economic situation isn't as bad as we think it is.

Average Joe explains his theory that "Americans are getting gaslit to think that we are getting lazier or we’re too entitled or we’re expecting too much,” when it reality, the numbers show otherwise.

In his video, he explains the average salary of a single person during the worst years of the Great Depression was $4887. Once he put it into the inflation calculator, it showed that $4887 would be equivalent to about $88,000 today.

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great depression inflation calculatorPhoto: @averagejoegam3 / TikTok

However, the average salary for a single person in 2019 was $31,133, and when putting that number into the inflation calculator to get results for 2023, it came out to be $38,066. 

inflation calculator todayPhoto: @averagejoegam3 / TikTok


What this seems to show is that Americans' buying power is actually worse today than it was during the Great Depression, with our dollar stretching way less than it used to as prices of goods increase. So, if it feels like you're making more than ever but still struggling to get by, you're not alone. As one person commented on Average Joe's TikTok, "This year is the most money I’ve ever made and simultaneously the least amount." 

"We need to bring awareness to this situation," Average Joe says in his video. 



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Official numbers show inflation today certainly makes everyday life more difficult.

As economics and investment strategy consultant Milton Ezrati wrote in an article for Forbes, “Inflation has cut deeply into the buying power of people’s incomes, and real spending has slowed accordingly." In addition, "Even though wages have risen at historically rapid rates, inflation has increased living costs still faster," Ezrati wrote.

It is scary that the economy has come to this point, and Average Joe's video sparked a conversation in the comments where other users shared their experiences with being able to afford life.

“I’m making it by and paying bills buuuutttt to think if inflation wasn’t so terrible I would actually be able to enjoy life and spend on myself,” wrote one person. A lot of people resonated with this comment and agreed that this situation is similar to their own. Others say that they can barely make it and they fear illness or injury. The minimum wage has gone up, but with it so has inflation. People are making more money but are still having trouble making ends meet.

One user brings up the homeless epidemic in our country, they write “it’s crazy how they talk about a homeless epidemic now. But looking back on the Great Depression homeless people we call it the government’s fault.” Homelessness was at an all-time high in 2022 with a reported 127,768 homeless people and it was suspected to be due to the pandemic-related economic disruptions and lack of federal funding towards efforts to prevent homelessness. In his article, Ezrati also said the prices of homes has caused a 9.5% drop in home prices from March 2022 to November 2022.


"From now on, I’ll be referring to the current economic time as the great-er depression," one person commented.

Average Joe ends his video by stating that it is amazing if people are able to work full time, pay their bills, and have food, a working car and clothes they deserve a massive round of applause.

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Tarah Hickel is a Washington-based writer who focuses on entertainment and news.