Dear Greta, How did we get here? What events led to this out-of-control spiral? It seemed that America was the strongest and smartest nation in the world. So, what caused this dangerous back-stepping, this decimation of the American Dream, the unraveling of the American Middle Class?

How We Got Here

In the 1920’s, the excess of capitalist sovereignty created a world wide collapse.

In the 1930’s, the nation was broke, unions gained traction, and social security was introduced.

The 1940s started with a catastrophic WW2, and ended with the US being the last and biggest dog standing, while almost all of the world was broke.

From 1945 to 1970, we, the US, lived in a bubble which may never again appear. And, when you are raised in a bubble, you think it’s normal. Our Government used the benefits of a victory in a good way to rebuild Europe, Japan and others.

  • We built the Interstate highway system in the 50s and ushered in Television
  • In the 1960s, we developed the space program and discovered micro electronics
  • Our political parties were centrist; our common enemy was Russia
  • Integrity was still the coin of the realm
  • Tax rates for the very high-end increment of society was 91%
  • Fertilizers and weed killers were new and appeared to be as revolutionary as penicillin

The late 60s & 70s brought us flower children, political unrest, Impeachment (almost), The Pill, and commercial jet travel. Environmental issues were new, and we had no reference for comparison.

The 1980s brought us a quantum change, slow but sure – conservatism, ‘Starve the Beast‘ busting of the unions, massive deficit spending, and massive reduced spending for basic services – all for the benefit of Wall Street.

The 90s started with an economic depression that affected real estate for over 8 years, massive deficit spending ended when Clinton brought the tax rates to a sustainable level and balanced the budget; but we sent our manufacturing jobs to Third World countries… again, for the benefit of Wall Street and the destruction of labor unions.

2000 brought us 9/11 and massive deficit spending all for the benefit of Wall Street. Resumption of the Starve the Beast philosophy for the bottom 80%, VP Cheney shot his attorney and got away with it, inflated real estate loans, and The Patriot Act. The decade ended with The Great Recession along with the election of Obama, bringing medical care for most of the nation.

The 2010s brought us a continuation of the recession and the Big Banks and Corporations were bailed out while millions of average middle-class Americans lost their homes to the bank. The stock market tripled and massive deficit spending continued to keep the revitalized money-train rolling with another injection of financial steroids via Trump.

Now, we return to the era of 100 years ago. Many of us, especially my millennial friends, believe a crisis is unfolding in slow motion. My Buddhist friend would ask, “is that good or is that bad?” while my Chinese friend would remind us that an alternate interpretation of ‘crisis’ is OPPORTUNITY.

Now that the sun is setting on various generations, ONLY YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.

Rich Meyer
Author & Blogger

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