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If something cost $2,500 in 1950, what would it cost today?


It depends what the thing is. Anything related to information technology or consumer electronics is likely to cost less, probably a lot less when you factor in the general level of inflation, and the quality is bound to be much better. By contrast, a product or service related to heath care probably costs a lot more, even when factoring inflation into the equation. When you throw everything into the pot and measure prices, the government calls it the consumer price index. If you plot CPI over time on a graph, you get a curve that is almost always moving up, sometimes quite steeply, as in the 1970s. The CPI stood at 25 at the end of 1950 and 230.1 last April. Assuming that the cost of the item you asked about has changed in line with the CPI and was $2,500 in 1950, it will set you back about $23,000 today.
-Conrad de Aenlle