from doing a couple of hours research on the web, from a variety of sources. Certainly getting by on minimum wage in 1960 was no picnic, but it's twice as hard today.
You made $160 a month in 1960 on minimum, yet average rent was $88. (My father paid $65 a month for a studio apartment on the West Side of Manhattan in 1960!) Today you'd make $1,048. Not even enough to make the rent.
6. Economy was doin pretty well then too. Then, along came Bank Americard...
Workers' pay no longer had to keep up with prices. People could keep spending, via the evil bank card, and nobody noticed the growing cancer on the economy. Employers did not have to keep raising rates of pay; they could sell their wares to underpaid employees who had the card!
Then, people had lost so much ground in the pay/cost of good race that people started needing plastic just to function. Sure, Nixon keep the lid on inflation via some artificial price controls, but we were sinking.
Carter took the rap for much of the problem that came before he did. Along came Reagan and his 'Greed is GOOD!' people and the air traffic controllers union got shit canned. The American worker was mortally wounded, it has just taken this long to notice our own demise.
I was a kid when all those 'Bank Americard' commercials were all over the airwaves. And even I could smell trouble.
When wages began falling behind in about 1973, the credit card made it's appearance in a big way. The CEOs, since the advent of Reagan/Greenspan, increased their take ten fold, while we had to live on credit just to remain indoors. The people at the top will have to take a lot less and spread that around if we are to survive as a nation. With credit dried up, we either get higher wages or fold.
8. Worse: with the corporate strangle-hold on governments, the laws for, by & of corporations,
there are no independent nations, no real power save for corporate power. We are already seeing the future of war: corporate entities against each other in the making/enforcing of trade laws and financial instruments.
With no really self governed nations, laws for corporations, not people, we have a new sort of feudal system. There's those that get massive benefit from technology and those that have their resources taken from them, living with the toxic by-products of technology without conscious. Been sayin for decades that the GOP (working for the corporations) and too many DLC types are tools used to make America a Third World Nation, not through immigration, but economic poisoning of the working classes.
We are even treated to the religious fanaticism of the Dark Ages too. Then there are the many plagues just around the bend....
Feudal system, with the captains of industry as the Lords and Dukes with their own turf to fight over. We, the serfs, are just cannon fodder in these most unholy wars of commerce.
24. Here's something your thinking onthis is leaving out
Edited on Sun Apr-12-09 07:11 PM by truedelphi
The income tax situation has never been rectified to allow workers to keep the money they need.
So when my dad supported his wife and us two kids in the early fifties, on between $ 4500 and $ 6,000 a year (They never talked money - so I have never had the exact figures) he knew his lifestyle for us would include: 1) Nice living quarters in a two bedroom apartment - something like $ 110 a month for rent 2) a two week, really nice vacation - all meals at restaurants, gifts for whatevre relatvies we stayed with, etc 3) health insurance,and the doctor made house calls when we were sick 4) a new car, paid for with CASH, every four to five years 5) he always had at least $ 1,000 in hand in a savings account, in case he lost his job
When you realize that he got to take $ 1,200 a year as tax deductions, that left him paying taxes and Social Security (at 3% !! - not 8.25%) on a mere $ 4,800 at the most.
So he gave out very little to Uncle Sam in taxes. Fast forward to the early eighties - I was paying $ 645 a month rent, for an apartment not as nice as the one he had. Doing without insurance. Taking a vacation only every three years. Never buying a new car.
And paying a bundle on my tribute to the IRS - because inflation forced me into a higher tax bracket.
That is one reason why so many people began to live on credit - the bamks, insurance groups etc made sure that the income tax system was never set up fairly. That ensured that people would use plastic in order to survive.
9. We can't go on offering easy access to debt to compensate
for depressed wages, either. Many people have reached their debt limit and can't add any more unless they want to go unsheltered, hungry, or naked.
Had wages kept pace with true inflation, we wouldn't be in this mess now. It all comes back to taking on debt that one can never afford to pay back just to increase the wealth at the top. Eventually all the debt based wealth is going to collapse, taking the whole economy with it.
It happened exactly the same way during the 1920s.
Every dime of debt most people have taken on represents lost wages.
Ya know, I recently had a bout with the flu and it had me thinking of something that happened when I was an undergrad at a state college in 1979.
I caught a flu virus, went to the doc at the University Health Center. Doc said, "You're not leaving this place, I'm putting you in quarantine." Upon doctor's orders, I stayed at the center, which also included a 6-room mini-hospital ward, with a supervising nurse there 24/7. I was there three days and two nights, complete with meals, medications, and physical therapy (they had me do some breathing on some sort of inhaler tube).
Didn't cost me a nickel. The state of Michigan picked up the tab.
12. variable is that we had tariffs to protect workers that were used to provide free collage education
Edited on Sun Apr-12-09 05:47 PM by sam sarrha
for the poor to raise them out of poverty where they higher taxes. and corporations paid 80% of the income taxes, and there were actually immigration programs.. life was good and easy.. weed was $10 an ounce... for the really good shit
had wood heat, a 60 amp fuze panel, no electrical outlets in the bedrooms and each had a single, pull chain light in the ceiling. The tv was a 13" black and white that received one channel. My mother hung out the clothes to dry on the clothesline in the backyard as we had no dryer.
My parents raised 6 kids in that house just fine (altough I don't miss those damn cold winter nights in the unheated bedrooms). I don't recall what my father made in 1960 but as he worked in construction, I am pretty sure it was more then a dollar an hour.
39. Yep - the $212,00 house comparison is nonsense,
Edited on Mon Apr-13-09 10:27 AM by progressoid
Also, houses have doubled in size since 1960 while families have shrunken. No one in their right mind would have even thought of getting such a home in 1960. We've been living beyond our means for too long.
Increase the minimum wage - YES! But that won't allow you to afford today's home. We need to go back to 1960 size homes, not today's McMansions.
This is the main reason this Bush Depression will not be over anytime soon. Real wages have declined drastically over the last forty some years. Free trade has been an absolute failure.
It is a depression because prices have to deflate to adjust to what people can afford without having access to abnormal amounts of credit. It is going to take several years of hard times before we have a new economy. Wages simply must come up.
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