“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man.”
Those powerful words captivated me as a youngster as I perched in front of the TV to watch Lee Majors portray “The Six Million Dollar Man.” I still have a themed board game somewhere.
Somewhere along the line, the fictional scientists in the show got together and decided that rebuilding Steve Austin would cost $6 million, but how might their estimate stack up today?
If you’ve been following reports about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placing statistical value on human life, then you’ll know that $6 million is not enough to buy you a nuclear-powered bionic man in 2008. It would barely pay for a middle-aged school teacher from Rhode Island.
EPA officials have placed the value on a single human life at $6.9 million – something they do when calculating the environmental impacts of policies and regulations.
But just five years ago, the EPA’s value on human life was $7.8 million per person. We’re all of a sudden $900,000 – or 13 percent – cheaper now than we were five years ago. If the value drops any more, we’ll all be $6 million people but without the bionic eye or the super strength.
While politicians and others continue to pontificate about the recent drop in value, all I know is that Steve Austin doesn’t seem so special anymore. He’s just one of the guys.