The Beginning Of The End
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America 1950 vs. America 2012

Would you rather live in the America of 1950 or the America of 2012?  Has the United States changed for the better over the last 62 years?  Many fondly remember the 1950s and the 1960s as the “golden age” of America.  We emerged from World War II as the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet.  During that time period, just about anyone that wanted to get a job could find a job and the U.S. middle class expanded rapidly.  Back in 1950, America was still considered to be a “land of opportunity” and the economy was growing like crazy.  There was less crime, there was less divorce, the American people had much less debt and the world seemed a whole lot less crazy.  Most of the rest of the world deeply admired us and wanted to be more like us.  Of course there were a lot of things that were not great about America back in 1950, and there are many things that many of us dearly love that we would have to give up in order to go back and live during that time.  For example, there was no Internet back in 1950.  Instead of being able to go online and read the articles that you want to read, your news would have been almost entirely controlled by the big media companies of the day.  So there are definitely some advantages that we have today that they did not have back in 1950.  But not all of the changes have been for the better.  America is in a constant state of change, and many are deeply concerned about where all of these changes are taking us.

There has never been any society in the history of the world that has been perfect.  America was flawed in 1950 just as America is flawed today.

But that doesn’t mean that we should not reflect on how much things have changed over the past 62 years.

So which version of America would you rather live in?

America 1950 vs. America 2012 – you make the call….

In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost about 27 cents.

In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.

In 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.

In 2012, a first-class stamp will cost you 45 cents.

In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.

In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men are employed.

In 1950, the average duration of unemployment was about 12 weeks.

In 2012, the average duration of unemployment is about 40 weeks.

In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing.

In 2012, the average family spends about 43% of its income on housing.

In 1950, gum chewing and talking in class were some of the major disciplinary problems in our schools.

In 2012, many of our public schools have been equipped with metal detectors because violence has become so bad.

In 1950, mothers decided what their children would eat for lunch.

In 2012, lunches are inspected by government control freaks to make sure that they contain the “correct foods” in many areas of the country.  For example, one 4-year-old girl recently had her lunch confiscated by a “lunch monitor” because it did not meet USDA guidelines….

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

In 1950, the United States was #1 in GDP per capita.

In 2012, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

In 1950, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that “the communists” did.

In 2012, the U.S. government redistributes more wealth than anyone else in the world.

In 1950, about 13 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.

In 2012, less than 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has more than doubled since 1950.

In 1950, the entire U.S. military was mobilized to protect the borders of South Korea.

In 2012, the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada are wide open and now there are 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States.

In 1950, there were about 2 million people living in Detroit and it was one of the greatest cities on earth.

In 2012, there are about 700,000 people living in Detroit and it has become a symbol of what is wrong with the U.S. economy.

In 1950, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was slightly over the 200 mark.

In 2012, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is threatening to soar over the 13,000 mark.

In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.

In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

In 1950, the median age at first marriage was about 22 for men and about 20 for women.

In 2012, the median age at first marriage is about 28 for men and about 26 for women.

In 1950, many Americans dressed up in suits and dresses before getting on an airplane.

In 2012, security goons look at the exposed forms of our women and our children before they are allowed to get on to an airplane.

In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.

In 2012, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.

In 1950, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked.

In 2012, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at record highs.

In 1950, the American people had a great love for the U.S. Constitution.

In 2012, if you are “reverent of individual liberty“, you may get labeled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.

In 1950, the United States loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 2012, the United States owes more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 1950, the U.S. national debt was about 257 billion dollars.

In 2012, the U.S. national debt is 59 times larger.  It is currently sitting at a grand total of $15,435,694,556,033.29.  Surely our children and our grandchildren will thank us for that.

One of the only things that is constant in life is change.

Whether we like it or not, America is going to continue to change.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, about 70 percent of all American adults were married.

Today, only about 50 percent of all American adults are married.

We are more independent, less religious, more addicted to entertainment and more doped up on prescription drugs than Americans used to be.

We have a higher standard of living than Americans in 1950 did, but we are also drowning in an ocean of debt unlike anything the world has ever seen.

For a lot more on how the U.S. economy is doing in 2012, just check out this list of interesting facts.

So is America 2012 a better version than America 1950 was?

Have we made progress since then or are we going backwards?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

  • Tatiana Covington

    I’d take today, in a heartbeat. Why? 62 years of science and technology, are why. Back then, we were terrified of polio. Then in 1954 the vaccines appeared. By 1980 polio was gone from the US.

    That’s just one example. As I once remarked to a friend: “Poor Queen Victoria. All she had was the British Empire. I have genetic engineering. And the internet. And robots. And atomic power. And computers so powerful that they can design enzymes from mathematical first principles. Why today, there are even a few people working on the faster-than-light question.”

  • Lugnut

    Border unprotected with Canada??? You yanks might find that really handy when you flee your jackboot fascist dictatorship.

    • Tom_moT

      that’s Fascist with a capital F, sir.

  • Tom_moT

    Well, I was -6 in 1950. I remember watching TV when I was 2. Is it worse now than then? Of course. It will get even worse than you can imagine in the near future. World War II was 5 years removed, the Korean conflict was approaching, Stalin was in power, McCarthyism was beginning, stock car racing was moonshine runners. Go watch Happy Days.

  • Haalen

    50’s and 60’s were the best years of my life. I am not complaining about today. Although the news around me doesn’t look good for my children and grandchildren.

    I was 13 years old in the 60’s. My older brother and I, and two of my best friends spent two weeks in the Ventana Wilderness without any adult supervision. We were just kids then, and we didn’t see another human-being all that time.

    My two boys got to do the same thing. However, how many kids get to do that today? Most parents wont let their kids out of their sights for more than an hour.

    • gary2

      Getting old sucks but the alternative is worse!

  • T-man

    I don’t think that 1950’s attitudes toward homosexuality were anything to brag about.

    • Devon

      Another positive in the fifties….the homo agenda was nowhere to be found…we are rotting from the inside in the Western World (I am in Canada…same problems)….queer marriage, transgender bathrooms….yeah…we are really progressing!

  • flek

    We the people are to blame.
    We fell asleep at the wheel.
    The founders warned us if we weren’t vigilant
    we would lose our republic.
    Today the republic is nearly lost.

    We’ve descended into a nightmare:
    Indefinite detention, assassination of our own citizens, terminator drones flying over the country, fiat counterfeiting, illegal income tax, tax on just about everything, wars without end, nanny socialist control state, militarized police force, schools like prisonds, gestapo-like TSA, non responsive government that doesn’t change course no matter who is elected…and on and on and on.

    • Jeff Ludwig

      To flek. I like this comment. You are speaking for me as well as yourself. All the best in this sorry world.

      • Bettyjean Kling

        I agree Jeff fleck is right on. We need a third party – these are two wings of the same vulture.

    • Bettyjean Kling

      We get the government we deserve, We the people need to wake up and take back our country from both these parties. They are taking turns playing us!

  • jim

    One of the great things about 2012 is the ability to murder your first born without being convicted a murderer. I’m sure this has gone over very well with the creator and our decline has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    • Gay Veteran

      who is getting away with murdering their first born?!?!?!?

    • Jack Myswag

      dude, a fetus is NOT BORN. Anybody whose born, and is killed, thats MURDER.
      And if a fetus is in it’s third trimester, it cannot be aborted, that’s illegal, unless it threatens the mother.

  • Barn Cat

    Back in September, 1978 I came to Wisconsin. I applied at the Neenah Foundry. Was hired on the spot at $5.67 an hour. Using an inflation calculator that would be like $12.00 an hour today. My first apartment cost $160 a month. It only took me one paycheck to pay my rent. Back then there were good jobs for people coming out of high school.

  • Obbop

    Plenty of “racism” in the USA today.

    I lived with it for decades in California when living and working within a Chicano majority.

    From being shot at to beatings…

    I was one of the dreaded and often despised Gringos and/or for being a USA citizen.

    Not long ago the Los Angeles police chief publicly said that it was genocide regarding the Chicanos constantly murdering USA citizen Blacks.

    The Los Angeles times conducted a teat a few years ago; send non-Chicanos to the barrios to seek a rental house or apartment and/or a job.

    Over and over, the non-Chicanos were sent away while Chicanos were able to get the job or place to live.

    The information is on the Web but it is not PC for the mass media to inform the rest of the USA about today’s realities.

  • Will

    Life was easier in the 50’s but people were also somewhat brainwashed. Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge today is so accessible it divided us as a country. Especially since our rulers got greedy. Would you rather die a happy robot or an awakened human?

  • Lorraine

    Everything has changed since the 50’s & 60’s. Being born in 1950, I wish I could go back to simple things in life. Like growing up with just one TV (black & white) and only had a hand full of channels to choice from. Going outside to play for hours, and not worried about getting mugged, or abducted. Eating dinner at the table with the family. Going to the drive in movies. Today we have so many choices to choice from. It makes me dizzy.

    • Josh

      Crime is back down to 1950/1960 levels

  • Orange Jean

    What a LOADED question, Michael! Well, I was born in 1950, in a working class family with 2 parents and 4 brothers. I remember some good but plenty of bad also. A LOT of the kids I grew up with had alcoholic parents (usually the father), who would beat the living crap out of them and the mother on a regular basis. My parents hated each other, only had married due to social pressure that they were getting “old” (dad was 40 and mom 27) and must be something wrong with them if they were single. They never divorced but were 100% miserable and my mom abused prescription pills and was abusive (to me mostly – being “in charge” of me, as the only girl).

    One of the worse things I remember growing up is the rigidity of the social norms and expectations that you would “conform”. I am white, I lived in a town that was about 99.9% white (only 1 family I am aware of that was mixed), mostly a mix of Irish & Italian; but God forbid you were anything different. I remember being harassed for being short, for wearing glasses, and because my family was considered “odd” (mostly because my father hated sports, and his older brother used to beat him for it).

    My families ancestors were Polish and Portuguese, although Catholic my parents left the Catholic church, but sent us to the Congregational church … all of which was treated like a crime against nature. There were several families who were French (probably French Canadian) and they were harassed for being French! One of those families had the audacity to have a wife who was Maori (I believe he met her during the war, stationed in the Pacific)… I never even SAW the wife, though they lived down the street from me. One family was Jewish, the daughter was harassed in school … not because of her religion (we really didn’t know anything about it), but because she ate EGGPLANT! God forbid!!

    Was it “safe”? Well we thought so most of the time, if you ignored POLIO (our moms were terrified of it), and there were a few pedophiles in town. When a hurricane, blizzard (or once a tornado) was coming you didn’t necessarily know it.

  • Orange Jean

    … oh, and I forgot to mention, the 1/2 French-1/2 Maori family also had a BOMB shelter. My oldest brother was terrified of the atom bomb and most of what I know about “prepping” came from him convincing me as kids that we were going to need to know how to survive some terrible war.

    There were some good things too – I loved my brothers, and I liked being able to play out in the woods and swamp by myself without needing adults watching me every minute.

    I would HATE being a kid today though, I think that would be a lot worse. On the other hand, I do wish I was about 20 years younger myself… a lot easier to deal with the unexpected when you are younger if you are healthier then (which I was), and felt like you had a future.

  • Doug

    If there was a time machine to take me back to 1950 I would be first in line. The majority of people today couldn’t give a ******* about their fellow man. It’s all me, me, me. I want this, I want that. Chivalry is dead, morality is history as is responsibility for your own actions. I stay away from the outside as much as I can. I know for a fact I was born 50 years too late.

    • bigA

      Make it happen! Become the change you want to see. You have the chance to go for it. Whatever ‘it’ is for you.

    • BlackConservative

      “The majority of people today couldn’t give a ******* about their fellow man.”

      I disagree. Today is much better then the 1950’s. But then again I would not have a choice to go to a good school, or marry a non-black person without fear of lynchings or simply being denied because it was illegal.

      Today is a much better time for me but if I was white I guess it would have been pretty nice.

  • ssj12

    Only two things I disagree with that are actually good things are the DOW possibly moving past 13k (wont last with the next economic crash looming), and less religious. Religion has been the cause of prejudice for centuries, why do we want people to be religious again?

  • pams

    In 1950 there was polio and women had very little say in the direction of their lives. No thanks.

    • Devon

      But their was also no radical femnazis …..that was surely a plus!

  • just me

    I was running around in the fifties and will take those days anytime. A person could leave his job and have abnother job in 15 minutes. you could walk thru any city at anytime and not be worried about getting mugged. you could take people for their word and trust them. My first car in 1953 was a 1948 dodge and i could take every nut and bolt out of it, get any part i needed at the junk yd for pennies.gas for most of the 50s where I lived was under 25.Houses were cheap, rents were cheap,food was cheap.
    then came big government and lawyers and war mongers, none of which could mind their own business. by the middle 50s they were killing the family farms and when the farms left America you see what they started afted the business, so now we’re all circling the drain.

    • BlackConservative

      False. There weren’t many jobs and the police could legally mug you while everyone would look the other way. Some things were better in those years but a lot has gotten better thanks to conservatives.

  • Kampechara Puriparinya

    I think America would like to recovering from
    many bad events. Because education sector is progress. Lot of talents still living in America,
    including the talent diaspora.The land of melting
    pot, and opportunities still remain.The life-style
    of the West are mobilizing to the East, the land
    of the most spiritual life in the world.
    Please stop the wars,because it impacts to the
    bad image of America, and economic decline still
    hit America. I praise P.R. China,the largest population in the globe. It is great for
    creating the big nation in the world by
    creative economy, and plan for peaceful, and spirituality.

    • Han Empire of Despotism

      You praise one of the most brutal, wicked countries on the planet 70% of whose water is contaminated. Most of the rivers are polluted. Cancer causing waste sites are ignored, with over 70,000 riots a year? With a secret police who wander around controlling every little aspect of life. China is so corrupt, most of the rich are leaving. The food is dirty. The air is toxic and the local governments are just thugs who steal peasant land and give them a pittance in return. China supports North Korea who murder and starve their own people and threaten to blow up the democracies of East Asia with nuclear weapons and export drugs to finance their failing economy. North Korea sticks Christians in concentration camps for their faith and shoots people in the back for leaving the country. The infant mortality rate in Tibet and Xinjiang are probably 1,000 times higher than the rest of China. Look at a map of neonatal deaths in China. If you are not in an ethnic Han Chinese area you are doomed. Chinese Han genocide has accomplished almost complete ethnic cleansing in Inner Mongolia, where few people even speak Mongolian any more. In Xinjiang, the Chinese have come over by the millions to take over and destroy the local language and culture, just as they have put 1/6 of Tibetans in gulags for political reasons. Tibet is not China and never will be China. The langauge, culture, people,etc. are completely different. China is just an imperialist cancer in Xinjiang,Tibet,Inner Mongolia and Manchuria,where the language and culture have been destroyed by Han Chinese imperialism. China now claims ALL of the Spratly Islands and a Japanese Island. China claims over 90,000 square miles of Indian territory and stole a huge chunk of Kashmir, India in the 60s. China is a dangerous threat to Asian security. China also has fought a border war with Vietnam and Russia. Vietnam annihilated 50,000 Chinese troops in the battle of Cao Phong and has purchased 3 billion dollars in mini attack submarines. They are ready, but will probably give in because of corrupt Vietnamese generals who pander and betray their country for money.

  • Dave 1946

    You know… I have been a proponent, a fanatic, a nostalgic supporter of buy made in the USA for decades now.
    Born in 1946, you might say, that I have seen the best of this wonderful land and its people.
    But… I became excited the other day when I discovered Levi’s, yeah, our good ole denim Levi’s actually Made in the USA.
    I went to the web site and about crapped my wallet.
    $140.00was an average price.
    Now I am not cheap, but can’t afford much of that…
    If this is a sign at what prices will be, to bring-it-back … then I believe our job base, of upward mobility and robust economy, is doomed to extinction.
    What’s Lost is Lost, and never can return.
    Labor Unions began causing the exodus, greed, and politicians playing the international game perpetuated it, and we the people bought into it.
    Now folks we are stuck in the hardening results … the cement of a global economy.

  • JoeD

    1950’s? Please. Cars were death traps and if you were diagnosed with any type of cancer you might as well start digging your own grave.

    All of this nostalgia for a past that was a complete mirage. The USA was in an enviable position becuase it had the only functioning economy after the Second World War, and everyone benefited handsomely as a result. Where it all went wrong was when we assumed that the Postwar level of prosperity would be the new norm despite the fact that Globalization was on the horizon.

  • Jack Myswag

    you neatly left out how in 1950 we were completely racially segregated. Have you seen or read “The Help?”,
    In 2012 … oh wait… nothing much has changed.
    Changes are mostly optical.

  • Bill

    Lived in those years and enjoyed every day of them. But, I just thought of something more wonderful, Obama had not been born yet. Yep, those were the good old days.

    • jace

      Is this satire? Or are you really this racist/stupid?

      • Cyndi Williams

        Racist??? He basically said he didn’t like Obama, and you got racist out of that??? What, you can’t read? Now who is stupid?

      • Ashton Poocher

        You really come off looking stupid with that comment. Maybe you better go back and finish high school before you comment out in public.

      • Anthony

        It is possible to view Obama and his presidency as bad or negative without race being an issue. Lets not assume something that isn’t actually in the comment.

        • John

          Exactly, I dont hate him because he’s black, I hate him because he’s a terrible president!

      • Robert S.

        So when Obama says he does not like John Benor does that make Obama a racist?

    • Sally

      No president is perfect however the blatant hatred and disrespect that Obama is ridiculous. I mean people treated Bush with more respected and that man signal handily drove the United States down. Bush not only caused one but TWO wars! Double the debt people and he was warn but still decided to attack. He also deregulated Wall Street which gave them more power to take shady deals. Cutting the taxes for the wealthy I mean I could go on and on about Bush. Not saying Obama is perfect but people treat him like crap the way they constantly interput him when he gives interviews and yells at him. No one did this too Bush (expect for that shoe toss).

      • 1Johnny

        People dislike Obama because he is a liberal and the implementation of bad policy, not because he is black. And you really need to look back of GW Bush’s presidency. The media treated him many time worse than Obama. Obama is getting pass by the majority of the news outlets (because they too are liberals).

      • Ryan Frye

        He didn’t cause the war. The president actually can’t declare war without the approval of congress. The Iraq war was started because they found evidence that Saddam was working towards a nuclear arsenal, and we already knew he had chemical weapons that he had already used before. The war in Afghanistan was started when the Taliban government (A government the US helped established) didn’t follow their promises are working for a better situation for the people, and they became highly anti-west. And they too were trying to get chemical and nuclear weapons.

      • jon

        Obama doubled bush’s debt

      • deegee

        I think that you should learn how to right good English before you comment.

  • Liam

    The U.S. is not only off shoring our jobs to Asia, we are destroying some of the few sources of jobs in the U.S.–healthcare jobs. Working conditions and pay are so bad, that hospitals would rather just recruit hundreds of thousands of Philippine nurses to work in U.S. hospitals. They work hard. They don’t complain about problems, no matter how serious and they do their jobs. Add to this the fact the fact that schools producing health professionals are so plentiful that quality is being compromised and education inflation is ruining health professions. These diploma mills are destroying salaries and the quality of education produced in America today.This destruction of the middle class is all happening from within our borders..That is why doctors make so much–they control how many MDs graduate from med schools, thus they artificially inflate their salaries.

  • Peter Beard

    It was a gReat time…IF…

    You had money, weren’t black, and weren’t a woman, that is. ;-)

    • Bettyjean Kling

      I have always said There was room for improvement . As a women – I can assure you – we are still lacking equal rights under the constitution, still make less for the same job and murdered at the rate of 4 a day as a result of DV. Our children are not safe at home or on the streets . In that regard nothing has changed.

  • Jessy

    Ok, some of that may sound good, but what’s missing are the comparisons regarding the fate of woman or anyone who was not a white male. A lot of what is going on today is so ridiculous I find it difficult to believe a democratic society let it get this far. I also do not understand some of the hot topics for candidates. It makes me feel as if no one remembers we are supposed to have a separation of church and state, and considering how our economy is we may want to consider a separation of Wall Street and state. If people are not upset enough to demand change with everything that has gone on since 2008 I am afraid to think what it will take to get the public up off their butts. Is America asleep or just day dreamin of the “good ole days”

  • yuri

    Hello every one.

    It is sad to read this article about decline of American Republic. Soon America will not be superpower as it was in 50’s. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 31 Bible describes what was the situation with Pharaoh of Egypt. In those times Egypt was the greatest power on planet. Also America is now is the greatest power on earth. And look what happened to Pharaoh of Egypt. Verse 12 describes fall of Egypt. Same thing will happen to America. American economy will crash soon under the heavy dept.

    Soon will start WWIII that will crash all the political system. Then the UN will come as ruler for short time. And after this God’s Kingdom will destroy all world rulers and it will stand for ever. Daniel 2:44.

    • St. Lukes School Teacher

      The Obama Christian Church run by Pastor Frank Caverty says that the plot against General Petraius and Obama was stopped by Obama’s good christian spirit. Obama is the good Muslim God in America and by October 21st of this year, Obama will be God of the world. We worship and praise Obama real good because he is just like Christ.

  • Act Like Winston Churchill And Say “Ahhh”

    Will the recession make the 1930’s Great Depression look like a children’s comic strip? According to some doomsday articles, “A Financial Armageddon” is in the works. I have some feeling that we will recover from this demise. The job market is poor but not quite bad. At least, not yet. The prognosis is a rather mixed venue. The debate is still in the Senate until this ambiguity gets adjudicated with the Ways and Means Committee. Newt Gingrich used to play the rastifarian and say “A-men” but being conceded is like being the oxymoron but Gingrich is smart. He has the facts. He is just hedging his bets like a good skilled gambler until he gets his opportunity to speak his mind without any red tape or controversy. He wants a fresh but UNbised dialogue to the public. If you want to go REPUBLICAN, vote for Gingrich to be president when Obama’s term is up, says ME!

  • blah

    who is the author of this? i want to use it in a academic report so i need to properly cite it

  • vikki

    MORAL DECAY thats whats wrong with the world ,,the usa is forsail and so is our souls

  • SML

    When my mother (born in 1943) vacationed in the Southern USA as a child, she remembers seeing segregated signs, and one redneck told her his ridiculous racist opinions about African-Americans.

    • Exposer

      Well, it’s only fair to pay back for the 3-5% Americans who had owned slaves and to ship you back to your great, powerful ancestral homeland: Africa. There, you will be united with your kin and will not have to deal with us racist rednecks anymore. I’m only assuming these are you people, seeing how you seem to be the anti-white type.

  • Cindy53

    Here’s my answer to your questions:
    In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.
    In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.
    This is a big reason why we have such a large federal budget deficit. The wealthy and corporations have NOT been paying their fair share of income taxes for the past 30 years (since Reagan).

    In 1950, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that “the communists” did.
    In 2012, the U.S. government redistributes more wealth than anyone else in the world.
    For the past 30 years the government has been redistributing wealth UPWARDS via the tax system – which is why we have such gross income inequality in the US today. In 1950, the maximum income tax rate on the wealthy was 91%. In 2012, the maximum income tax rate on the wealthy is 35%. In the 1950’s this country was prosperous because we had redistribution of wealth DOWNWARDS (through high tax rates on the wealthy, a strongly unionized work force that demanded a bigger share of wages when profits increased, stimulus spending via the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan, and the interstate highway system, and a government not run by corporate lobbyists).

    In 1950, about 13 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.
    In 2012, less than 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has more than doubled since 1950.
    Over the past 30 years, Congress (at the behest of corporate lobbyists) has made it easier and easier for corporations to move American jobs overseas and get a tax break to boot. In addition, so-called “free trade” agreements,which largely benefit the wealthy and corporate CEO’s, bleed even more jobs away from America. In 1950 union membership in the US was almost 35% of the workforce. In 2012 union membership has fallen to about 7%, resulting in stagnant wages for most Americans, even though corporate profits are at an all time high. We now have a government of, by, and for the corporations and wealthy 1% (instead of a government of, by, and for the people).
    Wake up America!!

  • cynthia curran

    Well, the 1950’s white poverty was around 20 percent. It basically white down to around 8 to 12 percent for the 1970’s and up. As for houses they were alot smaller and wives stayed home and white kids had to share thier clothing with sibings. Many places in the US didn’t still have indoor plumbing and whites lived in worst conditions in rural areas than today. Today the worst areas are heavily hispanic like the Texas border. As for the factory jobs, the average white makes a lot better money in a white collar job if they have one. Factories usually average Engineers incomes which are much higher than the guy on the assembly line which in states like California are done mainly by immirgants from Mexico or asian not blue collar whites. Assembly line workers make only between 10 to 15 dollars an hr. In factory work you have to become a machinsts to make the rates over 20 per hr.

  • I P Standing

    nafta and civil rights killed things

    • Phil Hartman

      dead wrong. things started to go south in the early 70s and what happened around that time: oil price shocks, lowering of taxes on rich, decreased spending on R&D, and competition emerging from Japan and Germany and China. That killed the US economy, not some wishful thinking over racial superiority.

      • george

        and the US was distracted by drugs and hippies and protests of Vietnam and other wars in asia – so it was the politicians with no vision including, as someone pointed out, impossibility of immigration from europe at that time.

    • BlackConservative

      Right giving people like me rights was the downfall of the US. And you wonder why blacks don’t vote conservative.

  • JKeylon

    Yeah 1950 was great as long as you were white, christian, english speaking, and whatever else you were supposed to be…to fit the 50’s mold.

    • Warren


      This whole looking back on the 50s through rose tinted glasses is really immature and weird. you know, the grass is always greener!! life CAN be anything you want in any decade, but you have to actually work toward it.

      I’ve heard older people complain about things like bike helmets now!! “when I was a kid, we didn’t have bike helmets and WE all turned out fine!!” OR, you didn’t know anyone that died from a head injury. Snap out of it, folks! Just because things were good for you, doesn’t mean every single person in the universe experiences life through you.

      Can we all just get over this crap and work NOW for a better tomorrow?

      • john

        There is some truth to what you are saying re “nostalgia” etc., however, facts are facts and going from #1 economically to #13? is a BIG DEAL.

    • Exposer

      Last time I checked it was white men who had colonized and built the United States through blood, sweat and tears- and not 4-5% of owned slaves who were sold from their “brothas” in Africa who had enslaved them to be sold off as merchandise to pick some cotton.

      You’ve just proven how dieversityleeches the life out of our society, thank you.

      • Nicholas Ratchford

        Now are you sure it didn’t have anything to do with the native americans who were here first and partially used as slave labor only to be then moved to “reservations” from land they had inhabited for centuries? Or maybe an entire work force that was based off people bought on 1 cont. and forced to work on another for 2 centuries while all the while being told they were property. Maybe you need to actually read some history books before you make wild generalizations. Not to mention it wasn’t diversity that brought on the plague, the dark ages, WW1, or WW2.

      • Namaps

        “But we only BOUGHT the slaves!”

        Yeah… that sure is a compelling argument that makes your blatant racism entirely acceptable and reasonable!. [/sarcasm]

      • Pete K.

        many people never mention that 80% of the slaves sold during the big slave-trade… were sold to south american countries, only 20% made it to the USA.

      • Erin

        Wow. You are what is wrong with America.

    • Mike Jakermen

      Other then that what was wrong with the 1950’s. If the 1950’s didn’t have racism. Would there be anything wrong with it. Back in the 1950’s you could own your own house without paying years to pay it off. You might actually meet a women who wanted to be your companion and not your enemy. Even in the 1950’s. Black families were mostly intact. Look at the Black community today. Most Children are being raised by single mothers. Its been shown that boys raised in a single mother homes are more likely to become criminals, commit suicide or become homeless. And dont forget all the drug laws that have destroyed black families that were past long after the 1950’s. Sure there was lots of racism. But even then the black families where far stronger. It dose not excuse the racism. Frankly if i could trade our economy with that of the 1950’s i would

    • Erin

      THANK YOU. Seriously.

    • Gcruzer142

      and a man, dont forget being a man

  • Leonardo F. Saints

    I wish I had lived in the decade of 50 in time where the United States was the land of oportunidades.But I am of the 21st century despite being young my generation scares me every day.I don’t know where we stop.

  • Michael Rogers

    A very interesting list and I’d give everything I have (lots!) to return! Yes, there were problems, particularly if you weren’t male, white, at least middle class and not evangelical.
    We were being told by “doctors” that COOLS were good and as now, manipulated by corporations to their benefit and the areas of the country that STILL are the most bigoted, ignorant and hateful were even worse!
    Overall the 50’s were wonderful and the 60’s better for more, particularly here in California.

  • gabor

    Stop and reverse globalization, as it only benefits some of the largest corporations but not the small and medium sized companies that offer most of U.S. based jobs. Then go back to the full capitalist system, with some help to those who cannot work, but reduce dependence on the government. Assign the welfare of each State to the State and not to the bureaucracy in Washington. Get out of the U.N. and the World Trade Association and bring home our manufacturing jobs, even if it costs more to produce in the U.S. People will just have to adjust to it. Finally make schools stricter for learning and reduce or eliminate much of the socializing and partying. Period. Nothing short of these measures will save our country.

  • old man cold war

    You have some flaws in your list. .27 cents in 1950 is about 2.50 according to the CPI.

    So gas has gone up about .50 cents to a dollar (or two) a gallon depending on where you live. Given the vastly better MPG modern cars have we are better off now.

    Using the same calculation your 3 cent stamp is .27 cents. So the real cost of stamps has gone up about .25 cents in 50 years. Big deal.

    In the 50s getting on a plane was a big deal and it cost a lot to do ride one. Now it’s just a glorified air bus that almost anyone can afford. Why would I wear a suit and tie to be crammed into a big tube? No thanks.

    Manufacturing jobs? What’s that? Robots are the present and future of manufacturing. There aren’t any factory jobs where 200 guys can stand around a conveyor belt and make products in the US. You have 200 robots for that. Those jobs are never coming back because they have been made obsolete. The only reason they persist in places like China is because workers were cheaper than robots, but even that is starting to change.

    The US should tax its corporation and wealthy and cut its enormously out of control military budget. Then money could be spent on things that make life better for US citizens. The answer is simple but I guess it will never be repaired. The US has a very broken voting system that prevents more than 2 parties from ever gaining traction and the 2 parties in charge enjoy it that way.

    The only reason the US manages anything is because of its strong economy. Now that strength is waning and the US will have to come to the realization that it can’t afford world-wide military games and wealthy/corporations who won’t pay taxes.


    Even with all that I still wouldn’t want to live in the 50s. I enjoy all my cheap technology too much to go back in time and pretend that Leave it To Beaver was representative of the era like some people seem to think.

    • Bettyjean Kling

      The only thing I can Agee with you on is the two party system! Hey like it that way !
      On the other hand there are more of us then them so we can do something about it if and when we the people start caring more about the country as a whole then me me me!

    • observer

      With you on all points except the defense budget. Defense spending as a % of our GDP hasn’t exceeded 30% for the last 20 years. It was nearly 70% of our GDP in the 50’s. Even 9/11 had a negligible effect on the portion of our GDP that is spent on military funding. We don’t spend nearly as much on defense as we have historically. The fact that we spend more than the next 14 countries combined is a shock figure to throw around, but it is irrelevant when compared with the spending trends of our past. Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security each cost as much as our entire defense budget on their own. Ballooning medical cost and zero regulation on service or product mark-up on medical supplies and services are partially to blame.

  • bryce simmet

    back then it was so much better. 27 cents for gas. that seems pretty damn good to me. and america now is just lazy and wont get off their butts to do ridiculous. some wont even mow their own lawns. it is crazy

  • bryce simmet

    back then it was so much better. 27 cents for gas. that seems pretty damn good to me. and america now is just lazy and wont get off their butts to do ridiculous. some wont even mow their own lawns. it is crazy. america is unbelievable these days. we and us are so lazy

  • Ile

    How much a service maid get paid in 1950?

  • Mr. Smith

    Just today, my next door neighbor, who was born in 1953, told me that (for all the social problems that existed during the 50’s) drugs were very rare then. That is one reason why she wishes she could return to the 50s.

  • BetterSafeThanSorry

    “Have we made progress since then or are we going backwards?”


  • sarhy

    i think i wouldav been better off living in 1950 XP

  • R Hall

    I expected a better analysis than this.
    Example: in 1950 an average home cost $12,000 and the average income was $xxxxx
    in 2012, the average home cost is $250,00 and avg income is $28,000
    so while the costs of goods have increased, the income level has not, and therefore we need two income families to afford to buy a house.
    You also make it sound like SECURITY GOONS want to do what they do, I am sure they are not, but since there are fanatical people who will use any method (babies, shoe-bombs, box cutters, etc…) to kill us, I will give up a walking breezing through airport security to make it to my destination.
    How many people were on welfare in 1950? How many now? in 1950, immigrants came here to be US citizens, in 2012 they come here to plunder and pillage, and they don’t bother trying to speak the language.
    And Yes – My daughter will eat what I put in her lunch, no-one will tell me deep fried chicken nuggets are healthier than a sandwich, but it seems like new-yorker will allow themselves to be told how big of a soft drink they can buy.

  • JBenz

    All I hear from you guys is complaining. Why wouldn’t the US outsource to other people who will work HARD for them and not complain. The 50’s were great because of the the mindset of the people in the 30’s and 40’s. Hard work drove our country. Now kids get trophies for trying and people that work hard don’t get the ancknowledgment they deserve so what is there to motivate people as they grow up? It is an always changing environment and we as people just haven’t adapted to the vastly improving technology fast enough. I am 26 and feel like I was one of the last generations to be able to play outside but also play on a videogame system. Most of you seem to be alot older. Wise and closed minded. The simple ways of the past were great if you only focus on the positives but without the technology of today many of us wouldn’t be alive. I would like a more simple life. Maybe we can all hope the Mayan 2012 prediction means the collapse all that we know of technology and we can live back in the stoneage. Too bad many of you don’t know any true skills and would be useless in that type of society.

  • Flipflopcowgirl

    Interesting analysis in the comments. My thoughts: not only could families survive on one income, Dad wasn’t working 80 hours a week. Families had less technology and more time together in a smaller house. I’ll take that even WITH an outhouse over broken homes. Communities had more control over their own lives versus centralized, federal control. Not bad. Inflation and socialism hadn’t yet driven costs up so high that we became work-crazed. Credit was used narrowly, enabling people to do something called “saving.” Again, not so bad. Yes, faith was important but is that horrible? Schools still made it their business to teach the three Rs versus progressive nonsense taught today. Not bad!

  • Mike Mangine

    Its when things were normal

  • cmmn

    As far as economics where concerned better, better wages better opportunity’s, you would reap the reward’s
    of hard work ingenuity and innovation! But left much to be desired when it come to equal rights.

    This has switched place’s though, the innovation that’s changed how we do thing’s has given big business an excuse to raise cost at a rate of 2 to 1 compared to wages, when in fact it has lowered cost. The electronic’s
    purchased today such as computers and cell phone’s are way over priced. you could say about 90% is profit including the service’s associated with them. And don’t forget the erosion of labor’s ability to stem these trend’s. When the majority of the people cease to benefit from this economy at a sufficient level the economy will fail and that civilization soon after, no matter how well we have improved our moral

    If you think i am a doomsayer or some one with a liberal agenda no i’m merely paraphrasing world history books. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the best of both era’s but i would not choose between the two.

  • DJ

    in 1950 the top tax rate was 84%, in 2012 it’s 38%… how’s that for “redistribution of wealth?”

  • ERB

    Whilst the 50s were an amazing age its foolish to hang on to the past as if its something we can return to, the fact is yes America was great in the 50s but, it also had a lot of bad aspects; lack of civil rights, widespread poverty and primitive are just a few of the examples. The highlights and low points doesn’t diminish many of the great things that we have now, better social care and civil rights, better technology (such as new medicines and machines – even things such as the internet), less of a threat of nuclear war and a better understanding of how our world works.

    In comparing the past to the present, you create a paradox the present only exists because of the past and asking to choose between the two is nonsensical. the 50s were both good and bad and our modern world is both good and bad hanging on to the past is not going to help anyone move forward, and it most definitly won’t help us improve our present.

  • Joshua Adams

    The world actually meant something back then. The youth coming of age now and for future ones is best described as the “deprived generation”. Deprived of quality music, entertainment,… constant paranoia, lives being dictated by overbearing the police state, and horrific crowding EVERYWHERE you go! Not being able to drive from pt A to B without stopping every couple hundred feet at increasing traffic signals that last minutes at a time, and chickenshits clogging the streets, very dangerous…I could go on and on; from a young persons perspective who is aware of what the real world WAS and IS its a sad sad age to live in and its declining RAPIDLY!

  • alexxxxxxxxxxg

    Well, Im only 14 years old, and for a 14 year old girl you would think that technology is life like most teenagers. But thats not me. yes i have a phone and tv and computer and ipod but im not proud of it. but since i was so used to it its hard to go without them. so every once and awhile i hid all electronics for a week, i didnt use the computer or text or go on my ipod or even watch tv and let me tell you it was the best week of my life. i was is the happiest mood the whole time. technology really brings people down. and i got so much more down than i usually do and i wish i could go my whole life like that. Ive ALWAYS wanted to be a teen in the 1950s so bad. i would be seriously PERFECT in that time period. i LOVE the movie grease i have 2 cds of grease, the movie, isent the characters fanmail and more. i love that movie and why i love it so much is because first of all its a great movie with great songs but also because im jealous. i want to live in that time period with the dancing and the hair and i love that type of music and the way they go out to diners and car races and actually go outside and do stuff more than just sit and watch tv and it just bugs me that thats the kind of life style im living in. thank you so much for posting these websites because i love to know everything about it. I wish there was a time machine so i could just go back even tho i wouldnt be born. i would just watch peoples lives and be interested in all the fun they have. and drive in movie theathers. why cant my life be like that. WITH NO TECHNOLOGY!!! and ive never had a boyfriend or anything but i dont want those messed up texting relationships. or asking them out over text. i want them to have to call you. or ring your doorbell. be braver than a text when you dont have the awkwardness. so many things i could go on and on and on about. please tell me more about it. I LOVE THIS KIND OF STUFF. i love how you do more fun things and have to find stuff to do! like wwhen i had my no technology weeks i was 10 times more happier and got more stuff done, went to bed earlier, and got to do a lot more than i would have if i had technology. sorry for all this i just really needed to speak my mind. Its a different perspective than most of you have on it because i never lived it, but also i got a polaroid camera for christmas and im in love :))))))))

    • george

      check out the band pink martini

  • Matt Cobis

    I am so liberal that I call myself progressive. If you are super conservative please read this. Seriously. Just read it and don’t get all pissed off till the end. If you do, I promise to read what you have to say…

    Corporations are completely out of control. When you award an organization, whose sole objective is profit and who has no conscience, the rights of a man in our legal system there can only be abuse of those rights.

    I understand what this article is really about. It’s about how we the people have been screwed over in the past 60 or so years. I completely agree. With my whole heart. But many in the GOP need to realize that while the government has been ineffective and in some cases complicit to the great theft of the American Dream, the true thieves are the corporations. Jesus only showed unrestrained anger once in the Bible. And it was directed at the money changers. The Banks and the insurance companies are the true culprits here. The next time you are in a major city look up. Whose name is that on top of the tallest buildings?

    It is my most ardent desire that many conservatives see that many of us progressives are much closer to them on many issues then they realize. These banks and insurance conglomerates and other moneyed interests have a real stake in keeping us separated and hostile to each other. I am not hostile to ANY American unless they are hostile to me first. I ask you to do the same. Don’t let TV or radio tell you how to view someone. Make you own decisions. And don’t use the cop of how you once you saw someone fitting some description do something horrible so all people fitting that description are the same.

  • Wendy

    My father told me that Women have “Screwed Themselves” with the Feminist Movement. They used to have it easy… Yes women used to be able to be as lazy as they wanted to be… Now anyone can be as productive or as lazy as they want to be… That’s progress.

  • thisarticledepressesme

    Remember going to highschool football games? The diners? Being friendly to adults and not cursing at them?

    …yeah. I remember.

  • Brandon Andrews

    Typical mid-20th century romanticization. Every single person looks fondly on the era they grew up in. The past is seldom better than the present. Let’s compare the 50’s to the present. In 1950 blacks didn’t have the same rights as whites. In 1950 the Cold War was in full effect and the Korean War was just beginning. You mention that housing was more expensive. You ignore the fact the average home size has doubled since the 50’s. You mention the price of certain items such as gas. These are more expensive b/c of inflation. Inflation is a necessary byproduct of a government that issues a fiat currency. You also mention US debt. Actually most US debt is held the federal government itself not foreign countries. You mention the median age for marriage. How is that relevant? People are waiting longer to marry… and that’s a bad thing? You mention that the Dow industrial average is much higher than in the 50’s. That is a sign of great economic growth. You also bring up that people are more independent and less religious. Also good things. Religion is in my opinion the last great evil in this world. And finally you criticize the US for being “doped up” on prescription drugs even though prescription drugs have improved quality of life and eradicated numerous infectious diseases. A nation can’t move forward and live in the past

  • TitanBrand


  • Alexis Dozier

    1950s plz i hate my teen life now

  • andrew

    i’d much rather live in 2012 america. sure a gallon of gas was 27 cents, but what was the median income? comon, these are all relative. this list is completely bias.

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  • 109718by Needs to check Facts

    I blame the baby boomers. They did this. Why are the young taking care of this generation of lazy bums who blame everyone but themselves.

    • KediZ

      I blame the lazy hippies who have passed on their lazy and “entitled” mentality to their offspring.

  • bpollen8

    There were some things that were really bad in the 1950s, and this article mentions the lack of internet being one of the worst things? Wow. That’s telling. Consider the racism that was prevelant…black people literally could not get many decent jobs. Or women. Yes, more marriages lasted longer, but that was partly because women were forced to stay with bad husbands for financial and societal reasons (there were no no-fault divorces). It was also legal to beat up your wife and children. So the food prices were no better then than now? Good deal. But that’s only if you were able to make a decent living; a large segment of our citizenry were kept from doing just that. As a woman, I am proud that I’ve worked hard and bought a home and car and own them outright. I am beholden to no one. I don’t have to put up with a philandering or drunk husband. That would not have been possible in the 50s for most women.

  • Claudegirl

    Thanks for the insight that was put so very logically. I am with you all the way. It does surprise me how many people that have lived in the 50’s to present seem to have very short term memories. As my Dad always said to me growing up, “the public has a short memory”. I thought when I was young that my Dad was a bit of a pessimist but now that I am older, I think he as really just a realist

  • Anthony

    If we don’t like the way things are then we need to take action and change things.

  • Erin

    Oh yes, I would LOVE to live in a time when I had little rights. Sounds super fun! Yay. This article is insane.

    • KediZ

      And you think you have more “rights” today?

      You have so many “rights” when a Mayor has a say on how many OUNCES of SODA you’re allowed to consume. WOW – so many “rights”.

  • Not for me

    If I wasn’t black sure I would the 1950’s a swirl why not. However for some reason I don’t think I would have enjoyed the 50’s as much as you say (sarcasm) . If you weren’t white during this time period you were basically screwed.

    • KediZ

      And you’re screwed if you vote for the party of mental slavery – the Dem party loves to control its victim-mentality herd of sheeple.

  • Phobe

    I don’t know why anyone would want to go to that time period. Not only was it extremely racist to minorities but also women were treated like crap. Check out some advertisements of the 50’s that are online saying things such as “Why you beat your Wife”, or “Why a Women belongs in the Kitchen”. That may not seem like much but if you are a female say good bye to your education even if you do go to college it was very unlikely for her to get hired. 1950’s may have had a great economy but the society back then was completely ignorant and it was the norm. I would much matter live in this generation even with all our problems than live in the 50’s where if you weren’t a white male you were treated horribly. Their is a reason why all those Women’s Groups were formed stop looking at the materialistic things of the 50’s and look at the shallow society.

    • Melody

      Perhaps you do not get the point of the article. Yes, we have progressed on certain things quite well. However, in the larger scheme of things we as a whole country a far worse than in the 50’s. By the way, I’m a woman and love being in the kitchen and the womens’ groups were formed so that we could have a choice. Too bad we’re all idiots now, because when we decide to have children we simply drop them off at daycare making it someone else’s responsibility to raise them and off to work we go so we can have all that materialistic crap you think was only in the 50’s. And by the way, most families were much happier during that period of time.

    • KediZ

      You can thank the Democrats for all the anti-civil rights and racism.

      It was the Democrats who formed the KKK. Dems fought AGAINST civil rights for blacks and women.

  • Nicole

    The comments really melt my heart. I’m glad to see that present Americans want to go back to the 50s. That comment from the 14 year old girl inspired me to go a week without technology. There’s so many things I wanna get done. And I’m just obsessed with the 50s. Morals, chivalry, WE WERE AMERICA. Now, I am not sure…this country may be the best but it seems like Mars nowadays. Maybe if enough people worked towards it we would be able to live in a 1950s sort of way. It will never happen, but we just need to go back. We have to. I wasn’t even born then, I’m quite young…but we have to go back.

  • Ryan Arko

    A few of those points are inaccurate, and I feel safe to accuse the inaccuracy of being blatant.

    * There are metals detectors in schools because violence has gotten so bad. Actually, crime, especially violent crime, is at a low, even in 2012. “Violence in schools has gotten so bad” would be a little bit more accurate as technology improves. Colubine would have been worse if the kids had smart phones to coordinate. They could have watched their actions in real time or streamlined their planning with faster connection speeds.
    Still, the boom in overall violence was around 1980 and has decreased significantly since then.

    *Detroit had 2 million citizens, now has 700,000 citizens. This happens. Empires rise and empires fall. Back when Detroit was as big as it was, the automotive industry wasn’t as expansive or regulated as it is today. Now, there are companies across American and the world who make automobiles. Many even make better automobiles with a smaller carbon footprint, so the preference would shift business out of Detroit.
    Then you take into account the wealthy business owners who would rather pay foreigners $2 a day instead of locals $15 to $45 an hour, and there goes the business in Detroit.
    Silicon Valley was nothing. It became something. And as time progresses, it will be nothing again. Rise. Fall.

    * 80% of men vs. 65% of men being employed. Women work now and not just in supportive positions. They are doctors instead of nurses. They are lawyers instead of stenographers. Business owners instead of secretaries.
    We also have men choosing to stay at home to tend the house. Men choosing to raise their children.

    *More independent (nothing wrong with that) less religious (still too religious), more addicted to entertainment (very debatable), and more doped up on prescription medication (says you and conservative nutjobs).

    Here’s the thing about citing resources. When you make a statement, it needs to be supported with unbiased, neutral sources. See, you’re saying “America is bad today.” So then you would need to provide citations that don’t lean to any political ideology. This would show that regardless of your own beliefs, the neutral facts would support your claim.

    However, your citations (aside from a treasury link) are all bible-thumping, far-right conservative websites. If I want to prove the world is round, I don’t go to a youtube video. I go to proper sources.
    If you want to prove the world is in moral decay, you don’t go to blog sites that are trying to prove their already formulated opinion that it is. That’s not science. That’s not how it works.

    As a writer, you sure know how to put together fantasy, but as a “truth-teller,” well, you’re obviously a man of God. So ask yourself: what does your God think about 9th Commandment Breakers? How does your God view lying tongues and deceitful people?

  • Anton

    The way America is goin why should we deserve everything we have for much longer, our government leadears can burn in hell for killing the american peopleple by waging false wars just to line there pockets with blood money.

  • Ualum

    You’re focusing on the rise and fall of one economic class of people, namely, white middle class. I will even go as far as saying white, middle class, MEN. Economic restructuring, white flight out of the cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, etc. were due to a series of economic choices driven mainly BY those who controlled the industries: whites. The winners in the restructure were mostly white, those who now choose to ship industry overseas, those who now choose to live in the suburbs and not in the “Crime” areas because they can afford to move there, and those who now decline to reinvest in economically broken and desolate areas on the basis of greed in the name of “personal liberty”. Also, since the 1950’s this same class of people have not had to fight for their right to attend schools, fight for their right to vote, to own property, to own businesses, etc. Gas is expensive now? Then explain to me why we export most of our crude to China instead of using it for our citizens. Explain to me why we tell folks that American made renewables are costly, so we subsidize the hell out of foreign oil and in the same breath complain when our F-150’s are made out of aluminum instead of steel to SAVE gas! The logic here is pretty misguided.

  • Robert S.

    I was born in 1942 so my developmental years were spent in the 40’s and 50’s. Without any hesitation whatever I would give up every so called advantage of the 2014 year and return to the 1950’s. It was the decade of amazing prosperity and we all survived without 24 hour stores and Sunday shopping. Families were REALLY families back then and the “Day of Rest” meant just that REST for ALL people since stores were CLOSED and we survived just fine. When I die my last thought will be about BACK TO THE 50’s and maybe, just maybe that will be my eternal reward!

  • Ardeare

    We are worse off.

    In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.

    In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

    The modern day republicans are nothing more than security guards for the 1%.

  • Whiteguilt

    If someone disagrees with you, pull the racist card! You really made sense with that statement, Olympia, because he clearly said that he hated Obama for his race.

  • KediZ

    haha! Here’s someone who’s talking about “invalidating” and entire argument – when HE comes out and thinks he can validate HIS argument with the Huff Post as his MAJOR SOURCE!

    Now that’s what I call a CLOWN.

  • Ryan Frye

    this is not true. Since the 1950’s the US manufacturing industry has tripled in size. There is so much false information in this I can’t take any of it seriously.

    Also the price of things doesn’t matter considering that minimum wage is 90% higher than they were in the 1950’s. By today’s standards the price of gas back then would actually be around 4 dollars.

  • Matt

    I would rather live now.

    You can keep your money. I care more about racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice.

  • G

    Give me 2012. Although there’s still racism, at least I can walk up the street without being lynched.

  • Dorothy

    First off, I’d like to say that a lot of these facts aren’t necessarily pointing out bad things.

    In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost about 27 cents.
    In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.
    In 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.
    In 2012, a first-class stamp will cost you 45 cents.

    True, gas and stamps cost more, but we also make more on average. The min wage in 1950 was $0.75/hr as compared to $7.25/hr now. If you calculate that out, we actually pay 3% less now. Also, the average car only got about 16mpg in 1950 as opposed to 2012 where the average was 20mpg. So overall, a pretty decent savings as opposed to 1950.

    In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.
    In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men are employed.

    I’m not even sure how accurate this is, but I’ll assume it is fairly accurate. This “fact” doesn’t take into account that now we have lots of women in the workforce too! Some of the unemployed men chose to be unemployed. More men are opting to be a stay at home dad while their wife is the bread winner. In 2012, women made up 58% of the workforce as opposed to 34% in 1950. Women can also have technical careers, own businesses, and run entire companies which was generally not allowed in the 1950s. Coming from a woman with a career in a very technical field, I really appreciate this.

    In 1950, about 13 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.
    In 2012, less than 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has more than doubled since 1950.

    True, we don’t manufacture anymore but there is a surplus of technology related jobs open. Society changes along with their wants and demands. In todays case, people want the latest technology therefore thats where the majority of jobs lie. In essence, one type of job went away, but another type has increased significantly.

    In 1950, the entire U.S. military was mobilized to protect the borders of South Korea.
    In 2012, the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada are wide open and now there are 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States.

    Ok, this one is just dumb. For one thing, the first fact has nothing to do with the second, we didn’t mobile our military to protect South Korea’s border in order to protect illegal aliens coming into the US. Secondly, not all Mexican and Canadian illegal aliens are gang members. Many of the 1.4 million number were born and raised right here in the US. To tie it all together, in 1950 there wasn’t much military protecting our Mexican and Canadian borders. In fact, we most likely have a larger border patrol now than we did back then.

    In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.
    In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

    In this case, agreed 1950 is definitely better than today.

    In 1950, many Americans dressed up in suits and dresses before getting on an airplane.
    In 2012, security goons look at the exposed forms of our women and our children before they are allowed to get on to an airplane.

    When you increase security, you lose some freedom. I agree that the flying situation in the 1950s was much better (minus the suits, I like being comfy in my jeans and t-shirt on a plane).

    In 1950, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked.
    In 2012, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at record highs.

    Completely geographical and I wouldn’t say “many” Americans live with steel bars on their windows. Another thing to point out would be that there was often someone always at home in the 1950s (usually the wife) and even I leave my doors unlocked when I’m home today.

    In 1950, the American people had a great love for the U.S. Constitution.
    In 2012, if you are “reverent of individual liberty”, you may get labeled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.

    This just flat out isn’t true. If you announce that you are revent of individual liberty, you’re not going to be put on a terrorist watch list. We are still more free to state our opinions than any other country. In fact, we’re more free to state our opinions than we were in 1950 (this is my opinion, my husband disagrees with me).

    In 1950, the U.S. national debt was about 257 billion dollars.
    In 2012, the U.S. national debt is 59 times larger. It is currently sitting at a grand total of $15,435,694,556,033.29. Surely our children and our grandchildren will thank us for that.

    The debt worldwide has increased significantly, with some countries even declaring bankruptcy so it’s not just us. I’ll be one of the lucky ones that gets to help pay it off and it sucks. I do wish we could have kept the debt lower.

    You’re also missing some facts, like these:

    In 1950, women couldn’t vote
    In 2012, women can vote and often do

    In 1950, minorities did not have the same rights as white people
    In 2012, civil rights is a reality and people of all backgrounds share the same rights (still not perfect, but much better than the 50s)

    Long story short, I think the 1950s were probably a great era if you were a white male but for everyone else it wasn’t ideal. As a woman, I appreciate that I’m now able to vote and to hold a highly technical career with the potential to advance into upper management. I’m also glad that minorities are treated better and share the same rights we do. The 1950s seems like an interesting era, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to go back but for me I’m happy right here :)

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