Measuring Worth provides calculations to determine the value of the U.S. dollar in history compared to now:
- George Washington, the first president of the United State of America, had a salary of $25,000 from 1789 to 1797. As a share of GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, “his salary as a share of GDP would rank him equivalent to $1.8 billion”
- The Eerie Canal, built between 1817 and 1825, cost $7 million. As a fraction of GDP, the cost equates to approximately $120 billion. The current budget of the U.S. Department of transportation is $60 billion.
- The Civil War occurred between 1861 and 1865 costing $6.7 billion. As a share of GDP, $6.7 billion would be $21 trillion today.
- The Ford Model T cost $290 in 1925. The cost in 2007 is $17,000 when comparing its cost as a share of GDP per capita.
- The cost of the Apollo Program, a 13 year program, to put a man on the moon cost between $20 and $25 billion. As a percent of GDP that number would be $390 billion, approximately $30 billion per year. The NASA budget for the current (2007) fiscal year is approximately $15 billion.
To read additional information on the relative value of the U.S. dollar, click on Six Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to Present.