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From Yesterday To Today: The Changing Economy

Are You Ready for Some Time Travel?

Who said time travel isn’t possible? Anyone who has followed this series knows, for a fact, it is quite possible. All you have to do is step into my time machine and join me back to, what some old-timers like to call it, a simpler time.

Today we are going back to 1968.

Climb aboard!

The home of my youth

The home of my youth

1968

Shortly after the first of the year, January, 1968, a neighbor of ours asked me if I was going to be looking for work during my summer vacation, after the end of my Sophomore year at Seattle University. He had worked at a fruit-and-produce warehouse for twenty years, and he said he could put a word in for me if I was interested. I said I was, most definitely, interested, and so it was that in June, 1968, I was hired as summer help at West Coast Fruit and Produce.

It was a Teamster job, and it was hard work, but the salient point, for this article, is that I started working there for $10 per hour with full medical and dental benefits.

Chew on that for a moment. I was twenty years old, making, quite literally, more than my dad was making, him being a common laborer at Pioneer Sand & Gravel, where he had been working for fifteen years.

Let’s jump ahead two years, shortly after graduating from college, I was again looking for work, and I was hired for a Teamster job, office work, for $15 per hour – that would then be 1970.

Time for Some Perspective

You will have to trust me on the math. I’ve done the research, and I’m pretty confident in the statistics I’m about to give to you.

That $10 per hour, which I earned in 1968, was the equivalent (had the same buying power) as $77 per hour in 2020. Stated another way, you would have to make $77 per hour, today, to have the purchasing power I had in 1968.

And I was not an anomaly. It was pretty common for my guys, my friends, those I hung out with, to make that kind of money in 1968. Good paying jobs were the norm back then, and inflation was nowhere near what it is today.

In 1969 I paid cash for a brand new Chevy Camaro. Graduating from college, a college which cost $4,000 per year, I had no debt. Within two years of graduating, I had paid cash for a building lot with a stunning view of Puget Sound. By 1978 I had purchased my first home.

Chew some more on that and then I’ll get around to the point if, by chance, you haven’t figured it out yet.

Making damned good money in 1968

Making damned good money in 1968

The Point

It occurred to me the other day, although, as an Economics major I certainly knew this already, that there is an entire generation of Americans who have never known the kind of economic security I knew coming out of college. There is an entire generation, say anyone born in the last twenty-five years, who have never given thought to actually achieving the American Dream.

And that is both amazing and incredibly depressing!

Now consider this: in 1970, the GDP for the United States was $5 trillion. In 2018, the GDP was $20 trillion. In other words, while the economy has grown four-fold during that time, the purchasing power of the average American has plummeted to ridiculously low levels.

Let’s put it another way. If someone made $15 per hour in today’s world, the wage I made in 1970, that person would be able to pay for what? A studio apartment will run you close to a grand per month. Car payment? Car insurance? Health insurance? Groceries? How far will that $15 per hour take you?

An entire generation!

And in twenty years, we will be able to say the last couple of generations!

Remember the Reagan Years?

Gosh, I was what, mid-to-late thirties when Reagan was President. I don’t remember much about it. I remember thinking he seemed like a kindly old man, pretty harmless, someone I could “grin-and-bear” until his Presidency was over, no harm, no foul.

And I remember “Trickle Down Economics,” and how great that theory sounded, the rich get rich, and the profits trickle down to the workers, and everyone is happy. And we all waited for the trickling to begin, and we waited, and we waited, and then it became obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that “Trickle Down Economics” was synonymous with saying “Shit Flows Downhill.”

Who Do I Blame?

I sure as hell don’t blame the economic system. Capitalism is all about making money, and it’s the goal to make shareholders happy and to reward investors and stockholders and upper-management. That’s been true of corporations and large businesses since the first person with buying power shouted “where the hell is the discount bin?”

And it was true for me when I owned a couple businesses. I tried to make money. I banked quite a bit of my profits. But, and this is an important but, I also paid my workers a wage higher than the market norm because, well, it seemed like the right thing to do.

The problem with Trickle Down Economics in the 80’s was the same problem we see today with so many of the huge corporations: without a corporate philosophy of sharing profits throughout the corporation, Trickle Down Economics is simply a pipe-dream fantasy. In other words, the corporation must have a moral compass and a willingness to pay wages which will allow workers to actually pay for some modern conveniences like, oh say, food and shelter and health benefits.

But the people I truly blame for this whole economic imbalance are the lawmakers, those men and women who accept huge amounts of money from special interest groups, groups who represent the largest corporations in the world, and then pass friendly legislation to benefit those corporations.

Stated simply, the problem is government, not the economic system.

Who does the government serve?

Who does the government serve?

RAMIFICATIONS

We are now seeing what happens when a large percentage of the population cannot make a living wage. People are extremely unhappy. People are afraid for their families. People are unsure of the future, at times hopeless, and they are angry, and that anger must have an outlet.

So we see polarity in the U.S. today, extreme polarity, shouting and cursing and protests and counter-protests and assaults and shootings and lootings and vandalism and . . . and . . . and . . .

We see blatant racism. We see blatant sexism. We see an increased effort to keep immigrants out of our cities. We see people wondering what the hell is the point of trying? What’s the point of working two jobs and still not having enough money to rent an apartment?

And I think it will get worse! Please, tell me I’m wrong.

If a person in the United States is working full-time at one job, or working two jobs, and still cannot pay for food, shelter, insurance, and medical, there is something wrong with the economic system, and nothing wrong with that person.

Period!

Back to 1968

I had no idea how good I had it. The economic security I had, at that time, was the norm. It was almost expected. You work hard, you go to school, and you enter the workplace expecting to make a good wage, which would lead to a home, marriage, white-picket fence and a family. It never dawned on me that it wasn’t possible to achieve.

I can’t imagine what it must be like, today, to be in your twenties and know there is very little hope that you will ever own a white-picket fence.

It truly saddens me.

Back home in 2020

Back home in 2020

Thanks for Joining Me

I know, it was a downer for sure, but I wanted to share, with you, my thoughts on this whole economic disparity thing. I don’t want to bring down the system. Truth be told, I am not powerful enough to make that happen. I just want the playing field to be a bit more level for all workers. I want corporations to grow a conscience. And I want the damned politicians to remember who the hell they represent.

Like that’s ever going to happen!

Be kind to each other – please!

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 10, 2020:

Thank you Rajan! I wish I was hopefully for a quick solution, but I'm not. :(

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 09, 2020:

What you say is very true everywhere. It is indeed a sad state of affairs and I feel sorry for the generation of today. Hope a solution is found soon to improve the declining state of affairs.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

Let's hope that for sure, Nithya! Thank you! I hope this finds you well, my friend.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 09, 2020:

Making ends meet is a struggle today even with two jobs. It is definitely a problem with the economic system and not the person. Let’s hope the politicians remember who they are representing and improve the current situation.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 08, 2020:

Yes they are, William. I think I made something like that on my very first job, working in a bowling alley at 15 or 16, but as a bonus I got all the free bowling I wanted, so that was Nirvana.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 08, 2020:

It really is, Linda, and I don't see it changing anytime soon. Thank you for stopping by.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on November 08, 2020:

That's impressive, Bill. I started my first job $2.10/hour - minimum wage then. I thought I was really something when I was making $8.00/hour. The times - they are a changin'.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2020:

You've provided a lot of food for thought in this article, Bill. It's sad that the situation has changed so drastically.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 06, 2020:

Bill, agree and thanks.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

Great point, Miebakagh! If the system is working to a person's benefit, the system is great! True words!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

Zulma, it's an odd day during November when we can take a dry walk. The dogs love the wet. Toby literally finds a puddle and lays down in it. What a boy he is!

Happy weekend, my friend! Good news coming out of the States this morning. The insanity may end soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

All true, Liz! These are scary times to be twenty-years old. I hope things change for the better soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

Thank you Chrish! I hope you keep that hair, although I'm sure you would be lovely bald as well. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

John, we are seeing that here as well. China is becoming a problem we cannot ignore much longer. I sure hope our representatives in Congress clue in on that fact soon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

Peggy, you and me both. I think we have good news coming soon. Who would have ever thought Georgia would switch? Talk about a weird reality!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

Shannon, I think my dogs prefer the rain. Toby immediately finds a big mud puddle and lays down in the damned thing. lol

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 06, 2020:

That is fantastic, Sha! Tell him I said congratulations! I hope my son wakes up to this reality soon.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 06, 2020:

Bill, every one will like the economic system to work for their benefit. As for the middle class that is dissappearing, its really sad. The question is government which has to protect and promote the process has either hijack or is eroding it. This is really sad. Enjoy the weekend.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on November 06, 2020:

I'm not sure inheriting the homestead is even a good option here given inheritance tax and all. Maybe sell up and divide the proceeds? I don't know. Guess we'll just have to play it by ear.

Enjoy your walk. Will you stay dry or do the pups enjoying catching you in the spray when they shake off?

Liz Westwood from UK on November 06, 2020:

This is a sobering article. It puts me in mind of the changes we have seen in the generations of our family. The interest rates our children pay on home mortgages are a small fraction of what we had to pay at their age, but the cost of houses is many times more that it was in our day.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on November 05, 2020:

"the problem is government, not the economic system." Indeed!

The last line above thank you- my heart aches:'( sometimes I just don't want to think about it,(after tripling the job) I'll probably lose all my hair before I turn 25 or worse lose my mind.

Have an awesome day out there.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 05, 2020:

Unfortunately Chinese investors with bottomless pockets had been buying up a lot of real estate here, especially in Sydney resulting in inflated property prices. The Government was forced to introduce recent regulations stating overseas/Chinese investors must actually reside in any property they buy for two years or something along those lines.

With the Coronavirus, as well as recent tension between Australia and China though, Chinese investments, exports/imports, students, and tourism etc. this may no longer be the case, and hopefully prices are dropping.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 05, 2020:

My husband says that there ARE term limits regulated each time by who wins the election. In my view, the advantages for incumbants almost always outweighs a newcomer to the race. In that sense, it is not an even playing field. Of course, there are upsets.

I am waiting with baited breathe for the election results this time!

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 05, 2020:

You're right. Ranting doesn't usually help, but if feels good to blow of steam sometimes, doesn't it? Besides, when I say it's not that simple I'm not just thinking of American economics and rich execs stuffing their already wealthy pockets. And things like greed and human nature and and and. . . lol. Nothing's ever just black and white for me. But yeah. Anyway...

Your dogs will let you walk them in the rain???? Mine won't' even step outside if the patio is wet. It's a chore just to shove them out the door to take care of business. LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

It may not be quite that simple, Shannon, but it's darned close to that simple. Obscene bonuses are paid to executive of major corporations. Stockholders do quite well, but employees work for minimum wage. Anyway you slice it, that is inequity, and it is self-perpetuating unless a change occurs.

Anyway, I'm done ranting. The dogs need a walk in the rain. :) Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Maybe not impossible, Manatita, but it will be a damned rough road to travel in the U.S. Change happens agonizingly slowly here, I'm afraid, and the kind of change I'm talking about seems Herculean in scope and size.

Anyway, pray we shall, and blessings to you always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thank you Zulma! Our home's value has gone through the roof, but we are afraid to sell it because they what? No way we could buy a "nicer" home. We are actually almost forced to stay here, even though we would love to start over on ten acres in the country. And then I wonder how the hell a young married couple can ever own a home. Short of receiving an inheritance, it seems to me to be impossible to do.

Anyway, Happy Thursday! All indications are that we are getting rid of the Orange-haired jerk once and for all. Happy Days may be around the corner in the U.S.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thank you Bill! I really have no problems economically, but it is hard to ignore the problems so many people have. Yes, I think we are going to have a new President. Let's hope he has a moral compass.

Happy Thursday to you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

I keep hoping change will come, Dora, but I also know meaningful change takes a very long time in this country. Cross our fingers, I guess, and hope for the best. Thank you my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Devika, I wish the U.S. was a beacon of hope, but for millions in this country, there is no light in that beacon.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thank you Miebakagh! In the U.S. someone better take the lead for meaningful change. The middle class is quickly disappearing in this country, and I find that sad.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Doris, first of all, well done for breaking that glass ceiling. As for politicians, perhaps they need to work in D.C. for minimum wage. I think we would see some meaningful legislation very quickly if that were the case.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thank you Brenda! It is true, I know several young people, in their twenties, who do not even try to find work; still, the great majority work hard and have nothing to show for it, and that's just not right in my opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thanks for your perspective, John! It was interesting to hear about the economic situation in Australia. My goodness, how does one afford a million-dollar home? Thank God I bought early on and could then use that equity to keep buying years later, or I would be living in a one-room apartment now.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

I still have hope too, Rodric, but I think there has to be some major overhauls to the system. Getting rid of Citizens United would be a start. The special interest groups are spending far too much money on political influence, and the average citizen doesn't have a prayer in a battle of checkbooks.

Thanks for the comment, and best wishes to you.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 05, 2020:

Bill, I like your response to Pamela: "I think a lot of kids would be much better off if they learned a trade rather than went to college."

As a single mom, I couldn't afford to send my son to college. Apparently, he's been doing some serious what-do-I-want-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life soul searching. One day a few months ago he told me he'd enrolled in HVAC school. He applied for a grant, received it and only has to pay $35/month for the training. It's a 10-month course, 4 nights a week. He's loving it and Floridians will never not need HVAC techs! I'm proud of him. He did all of this on his own.

The trade school he's attending has a placement program, so he can be put to work fresh out of school. No Wal-Mart job for my kid! :-)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Flourish, I think we are going to win. It looks like Pennsylvania is flipping. Now it's just a matter of court battles, recounts, and rioting in the streets. But at least Carrothead will be gone.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Dolores, thank you, and it's nice to hear from you again. I hope this finds you well. The only reason I can afford health care is because of Medicare. If not for that, I would be in a world of hurt, and that shouldn't be a truth in this country.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Pamela, I think a lot of kids would be much better off if they learned a trade rather than went to college. People will always need plumbers and carpenters; what we don't need is more workers at WalMart.

Sorry about the negative vibes, but I feel much better having written this.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Linda, I have no idea how a person in their 20's can ever own a home. The cost of your daughter's medicine is criminal. My goodness, the whole system seems to be stacked against the middle class and lower income families.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Becky, I see no way a person in their 20's can climb out of the economic hole. The mountain is too high. I'm afraid stories like the ones about your kids are far too common.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Peggy, that's one reason why I am for term limits. I think a senator should be removed after two or three terms. Maybe that would help to eliminate some of the special interest influence. Then again, maybe not.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Sha, I hear ya! My son will probably struggle financially his entire life. He was not born with a silver spoon, and it doesn't look like he'll ever hold one. :( Grrrr! Maybe things will change for the better with Biden.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Thank you Miebakagh! Yes, I am fine with our economic system, if it is allowed to work for everyone.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 05, 2020:

Eric, on your last statement, I, too, feel like we dropped the ball for future generations. Something went wrong on our watch, and we didn't do anything to stop it. Shame on us, my friend.

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 05, 2020:

Gosh, Bill. I'm nearly 40 and I don't recall feeling a true sense of economic freedom since college. Even then, I had in the back of my mind I was already in debt, though, so it wasn't true freedom. I don't know much about economic principles, but inflation seems to be a huge problem as well. Inflation and greed. Whenever some companies, especially large corporations, try to treat their employees better than the current norm it seems like prices of materials just increase or products increase in order to compensate for less profit. Heaven forbid the profit margins suffer any setbacks, no matter how small. Ugh. So it just goes round and round and nobody really wins, except the companies. Of course, it isn't quite as simple as that either.

manatita44 from london on November 05, 2020:

An extremely beautiful write and awesome assessment, Bro. But, although we are both optimist, you know that you're asking for the impossible, right? Lol.

Laughter is probably the best thing here in an ironical sort of way, as these guys in fancy jets, private swimming pools and fairy-tale houses, don't feel the empathy and concern that we are looking for. Instead they laugh or is it sneer?

"They have eyes to see but do not ... ears to hear, but do not ... the dead who are still alive. (Bible, somewhere)

Well, in Guruji's vision, America will do well. It has produced many patriots and men and women of vision, whose Spirits still linger in the soul of America and will help us in some measure. I guess that God deals with His own schedule. Let us pray!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on November 05, 2020:

Hi, Bill.

Years ago, I took an economics class. I was so confused after the first lecture, I pretty much slept through the rest of the course. I commend you for actually getting a degree. Many thanks for explaining trickle-down economics. Frankly, it sounds like a legal pyramid scheme so it's no wonder it couldn't live up to expectations. Well, not the expectations of those at the base anyway.

We're fortunate my husband is a civil service employee. He's got a job for life. We have our own home which should be paid off in a few years and all our kids are gainfully employed. Two of them have moved out, so the financial burden has eased up.

Not that it's been easy. It took both us of working full-time jobs for years, and some finagling on my part, to get the down payment for the house. The price at the time really stretched our budget, but now housing prices are insane. Our house is now worth treble what we originally paid. But if we were to sell up, we'd be hard-pressed to find something similar at today's rates.

When did the world go haywire? And why do so many insist on riding this hand cart all the way to hell?

I know there are no easy answers to this but, please, somebody give us something.

Enough ranting. You have a good day, Bill.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on November 05, 2020:

I would not want to be a new college graduate right now. The prospects for living the American Dream are not good. I think it is pure greed that creates the economic inequality that exists today. The rich just get richer while the middle class shrinks.

I am hoping that the election results will be completed today and we can start a new chapter toward civility. We’ll see. Have a great day.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 05, 2020:

Bill, you're right. Life is so much harder for our children, and Lord have mercy on their children if the greed of those in government does not decline. Among other things, your article helps us rethink and reshape our perspectives about how to vote, hoping that those who run for office are not all cut from the same dirty cloth.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 05, 2020:

Bill I see the changes and know that as we get older we realiZE how much matters. These issues are everywhere in the world.. In Croatia one requires two or more jobs to live a good standard life and here I am 18 years and still trying to move on to a better lifestyle. I thought better of USA and surprised of how people are compamining in these comments

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 04, 2020:

Bill, much to say on this Time Travel story. It is rather a light pointer or a search light. I recall way back in 1968 I was just a kid of 10-years in Nigeria. My mother called me aside and put into my hand 3 pence. "My son go and buy me a chicken babecur." A whole chicken babecur for just 3 British pence! She was self-employ selling essential or basic cofectiiarieries. My dad likewise was self employed-a washerman dry cleaner. Both paid they small work force. At the moment, I had retired from the civil service. Even if I am not, I will be a fool to buy a whole chicken b. Those in the private sector can be fine with. Your article is a read and mind searching. Thanks again for sharing.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on November 04, 2020:

I went through all of that with you, Bill. My then-husband made $800 a month as a broadcast engineer in Lubbock, TX. We bought a 3 br, 2 ba house with landscaped yard and drove two late model cars. I was a bored stay-at-home mom. Life in the suburbs was pretty good. But believe me, there was blatant sexism in the workforce. A couple of years later as a single mom, I made less than half that salary as a copywriter for a radio station. The kids and I lived in a dump and I drove an old used car. We were told that "women don't need to make as much as a man." I was never so happy as I was to enter the business as an on-air personality and help break that glass ceiling for myself and other women. Then after becoming a reporter, I interviewed one politician who tried to educate me in how wonderful the "trickle-down" theory was. Years later, Warren Buffet said that nothing trickles down, it just gushes up.

Anyway, your point about inflation is well-taken. I just wish some politicians would get it.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 04, 2020:

Bill,

Although this article points out a rather a sad situation I do remember those days.

It seemed we had more money but things were alot cheaper.

I am a bit leery to say people have it bad today because I see many young people who do not even try to make their lives better.

I do know the cost of rent and everything else had gone up and it can be quite difficult, but I was not rich by no means as a child growing up.

We were taught how to pinch pennies and make the best of a bad situation.

I commend you for paying your employees a descent wage.

To many employers you are just a number and there is absolutely no moral compass.

Thanks for the read...until next time.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 04, 2020:

Trickle down economics may look good on paper but it doesn’t transfer to reality. That trickle dries up before it moves down too far. Maybe it should be called drip down economics.

It is similar here, “the Australian dream’ is also a thing of the past with average house prices in the capital cities around 1 million dollars and even in smaller ones 450,000.

When I first started work I thinkI was on $8 per hour and thought I was rich. I could buy whatever I needed and still save half my pay each fortnight. Not so now. Great article Bill, thank you for sharing.

Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on November 04, 2020:

This opened my eyes to the truth of what I have been bragging to my kids about for years. I remember as a kid in the 80's going to the store with $20 to buy candy. My mom sent my brother and me to the store and we were under the impression that she meant for us to have the whole $20!

We bought so much junk food that we ended up with a large paper bag of sugary and salty delight that we could only dream of getting with $20 today.

Of course, my mom made us return most of it. I think we gorged ourselves on the way home and the way back to the store. We came out having eaten $5 or so of junk food.

I grew up with the philosophy that if you went to school, got a good job, and saved you could get anything. In Nashville, GA, the cost of living was low in the 1990s. I thought I was doing something making $8 an hour!

When I moved to Atlanta in 2001, I learned that $8 an hour meant nothing. It was such a culture shock to me. I learned that $15 an hour was still nothing as each year went by. Now I realize that $30 an hour in Arizona means little for a large family still.

I still hope that I get that American dream, though. I still am trying to have hope that I will be able to own a home, which I never have. I still believe in the dream. I, however, realize that I may not get what I want. Who will undo all of the knots in the system to make it simple to dream and earn for the average American? I only trust the politicians to keep the status quo. I believed in trickle-down economics. Your article has given me perspective.

Now I understand why economists have been saying that the later generations will not have it as good as the previous ones. Are we getting so poor due to legislative changes that we will choose to become socialist or Marxist out of necessity? It looks that way to me. My kids don't dream like I did. They stress over being able to go to college and hope to have it for free if they can. They don't think they can make it without a handout from the government, which they will in turn pay for unawares as they enter the workforce and homeownership, it that will be possible for them. I still have hope.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 04, 2020:

Keep counting the votes. I’m just beside myself. I have a Dem sticker on my car and a man in a red car with a Trump flag tried to rear end me then drive real fast around me on a lonely stretch of highway and slammed on breaks in front of me. Then he sped off. We were the only ones on the road. I can’t help but wonder if this was political in nature. People are nuts.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on November 04, 2020:

So True, Bill. I imagine that paying your workers a bit more created a team of loyal workers who wanted to stay with the job. Also back then, with a few bucks, a person could earn 3% interest on their savings account. The percentage of income needed for housing was supposed to be 1/4 of your income. Now it is much more. And health care was so much cheaper!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 04, 2020:

I think this might be the most negative article I have ever seen you write, but it is pertinent to what has happened in the U.S. You bring up so many good points. A lot of people are hurting financially. Covid is sure a part of that but much more needs to be changed. Politics and greed seem to rule the day.The amount these CEO's make is ridiculous. I read some of the comments below and it seems everyone has a story that reflects these problems.

I am fortunate to have 3 grandchildren that put themselves through college and all now have good jobs.To make it financially these days it takes more education or training, such as welding or plumbing. Working at a fast food restaurant is more for a student who lives at home while still training for something else. There are so many without those skills to make a decent salary.

Now my husband and I live on a low fixed income. Fortunately we paid our house off a few years ago as our medical bills are huge. Congress needs to do something about the cost of medicine and medical bills in gerneral. Going to the grocery story is a big expense now even if you live frugally. The cost of living is lower here than in the western part of the country. Minimum wage is $15 hr. here as of this election. :)

I don't know where we go from here no matter who wins this election. I don't trust either side to fix things as it has not been done with the last few administrations. I wish we could all just get along and work together for solutions.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 04, 2020:

Bill, I don't know what the answer is, but you've got me hopping mad (not at you, at the situation).

My daughter's health insurance is over $330 a month, and since she works(ed) for Wal-Mart she has to pay 100 percent.

Average rent in your Tacoma is $1400 for a one bedroom. But CEO's are earning high six-figure to a million plus per year (not counting perks and bonuses).

How does anyone afford to live on their own much less have a family on $15/hour??

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on November 04, 2020:

One of my sons has been living with me for about a year, because he didn't have money to pay for a house, car and simple things like that. He pays me money every week to buy groceries with, because I cannot afford to feed him. Luckily my house is paid for, or I would not be able to make it on my widows pension from the VA.

He got fired from his job for defending himself from a nut who attacked him with a butcher knife. He finally got another job, the same week they started paying his unemployment. He got enough backpay that he bought a cheap vehicle from a friend. This friend dropped the price $1000 so he could afford it. Now we are not sharing my little truck. I live 15 miles out of town, so you definitely need a vehicle.

My daughter, who is 23, has never moved out. She has been trying to go to college and it is costing a fortune, at a community college. I remember taking classes for $100 a semester back in the 70s. Now it is in the $800s. How are they supposed to ever get their own little place. It takes 2 incomes to scrape by any more.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 04, 2020:

Times have certainly changed since those good old days! I remember them well. The American dream was to own a home, have a car or even two cars, and have plenty of food to eat. It is so sad that so much has changed since those days.

I agree that greed and politics are the cause of so much of our current day economic woes for many in our country. The laws could be changed if the politicians truly represented their constituents and did what was right for them. Instead, many only think about enriching themselves and remaining in office as long as possible.

Therein lies the debate about term limits. My husband and I have differing views on that subject. Incumbants always have an advantage over those running against them. That is why it is so hard to unseat them no matter what they do while in office. Some Senators that just won reelection and have said they would do one thing, but did the opposite when it came time to vote, will still be there. Sad situation!

Yes, let's all be kind to one another, and breathe!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 04, 2020:

Times certainly have changed, Bill. I was only eleven in 1968 so I wasn't yet earning a living. However, in 1982, fresh out of broadcasting school, I was making $500/week as a copywriter plus 5% commission for any airtime I sold. I also freelanced on the side at $50/hour. I was living high on the hog!

Fast forward to 2020. My twenty-eight year old son still lives with me because he can't afford to rent an apartment, buy food, cover utilities and pay his car insurance. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in our area is $1,460 per month. Not only that, but you have to put down first and last before you can even move in. Health insurance? Unless your employer offers it (I'm fortunate that my employer pays 100% of my monthly premium), you're kinda S.O.L.

Yet, the cost of living continues to increase every year. Minimum wage here is $8.56/hour. What the hell kind of sense does that make? Who can live on that? Who can live on the $15/hour you were making in 1970?

Can you say upside down?

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 04, 2020:

Hi Bill time travel is possible, and the ride is a success. I don't see anything wrong with the economic system. Being based on the laws of seed time and harvest, the economy had to flow in accord with nature. What is shameful and alarming is the way the politicians manipulated the law against the ordinary citizens. God help us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 04, 2020:

It is complex for sure, Heidi, and hopefully wise people will find a solution. As for the vote, well, what can I say. We should have seen this coming. It was never going to be easy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 04, 2020:

Thank you Rosina! It's a mess and it's getting worse. I hope we change things for the better soon.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 04, 2020:

Well Negative Nellie. You know you are going to get a philosophical spanking from my venue. Knock off the downer stuff. Well I laugh as I so totally agree with your point.

Sometimes I wonder about being 11 and having jobs - seasonal; Raking leaves, shoveling snow, mowing lawns and picking fruit and pruning and a lot of digging. (what up with the shovel deal?) Don't even get me started with cleaning stables at county fairs.

My mom was mean. She started charging me rent at 16. -- obviously to force me to save and pay for undergraduate studies, how cool is that?

My 30ish elder kids and I are more rolling stones. Saving up a bit means planning a trip to some faraway place.

Because of earning a fine wage I was free from quite young.

So my long boring point is that I fear for our younger for not having freedom. "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". I am so sorry that my gen does not do better in providing that.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on November 04, 2020:

Oh where do we start?

Well, I remember the discussion of Reaganomics. Lower taxes sounds like a great idea. But then you starve social and government programs while letting the free market run wild.

But this is such a complex topic, I can't even scratch the surface of it with one of my usual rants. So I'll have to leave that for a visit on the virtual porch someday.

Keep counting those votes from yesterday. Such a tight race. Wow.

Rosina S Khan on November 04, 2020:

Yes, Bill, the economy has gone down drastically. USD$15 all those years back would help you to buy more than the basic needs because money had more value then. Nowadays it is true even with two jobs one cannot make ends meet. It is the problem of the system, not the person, I agree.