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Hometown: New Mexico
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 104,882

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We used to have a social contract even without unions

that said a day's work was worth a day's living wage, supported by a minimum wage which was geared to support a family of four on a "thrifty" lifestyle, which meant chuck instead of sirloin and vacations in a tent rather than in a big hotel.

The minimum wage was allowed to fall relative to inflation from the early 70s onward and now it won't support a single worker in safe housing with a diet nutritious enough to keep him healthy.

That is the main thing that has happened, a government policy of depressing labor's wages as far down as they will go. When they hit the floor, they started shipping jobs to the third world, aided by trade policies that disadvantaged the US labor market.

The New Deal + strong unions gave labor the best deal it had ever had. A strong middle class was created and it was stable, giving a great deal of stability to the country. If the rich paid attention to what was going on, they got richer. If they didn't and just spent money without keeping an eye on what was coming in, they got poorer.

The generation that benefited the most was the generation born during and after WWI and who were teenagers during the Depression and came of age just in time for WWII. There was a lot of pent up demand there and their bliss was to be able to go out and buy the things their families had been deprived of when they were growing up. To their children, they seemed crass and materialistic, ready to settle for toys rather than achieve the progress that would break down regimentation and social segregation across ethnic, racial, religious, sexual, occupational and class lines.

That's basically what the 60s were about, that and a nasty little war that we should never have gotten into.

We brats did a lot when it comes to kicking down the barriers, especially the ones that said women were only teachers, nurses, waitresses and maids and only until they married. After that, they were SOL when it came to jobs.

The rich declared war on us during Nixon's paranoid administration and it's been that way since then. The economy now is the direct result of 44 years of conservative, pro business, anti labor government policy.
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