Monday, March 5, 2012

1950 or 2012? Your call.


One thing that irks me about being Conservative is the fact that so many of my fellows seem smugly to think that Things Were So Much Better Way Back When. (As one of them put it, "Adulthood begins when you realize Dean Wormer, Edward Rooney and Archie Bunker were right all along.")

This is not quite as pernicious as the leftist error (at least it rarely tends to murder people by millions), but it, er, can be annoying.

Along these lines, I ran across this little gem on a website called "MrConservative.com":

Death of The American Dream? America 1950 v.s. 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 opportunityand 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.

Oy.

What a question.

You know where this was going ((cue "The Way We Were")). Things were SO MUCH BETTER IN THE 1950s, RIGHT?

Not. Hardly. And any conservative who really thinks so is fooling themselves.

Let's do a little fisking of the article in question. Roman text below is from the original article. My remarks are in ITALICS. Underlying them is the basic fact that one dollar in 1950 would buy $8.9562 worth of goods in 2012. Remembering this gives the following an entirely new meaning.

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

In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.

In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost $2.41 in constant 2012 dollars.

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, a first class stamp cost $.268 in 1950 dollars. Of course, there was a lot more mail then--because no Email which is relatively cost-free.

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 vast majority of women were not employed at all; they lived in the home raising children, like it or not.

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 United States had more industrial power than all other nations on earth – because of the end of WW2. No longer true, and this is a GOOD thing, as that means that the other nations on earth have industrialized or re-industrialized when in 1950, in most of the world, the world had been blasted to rubble.

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.

Well, this is truly not-good. Can't have everything. Of course, the average house in 1950 had about 1/3 the square footage of a home present day, which may explain the increase in price.

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, the entire African American race was excluded from our schools and kept in segregated crapholes that nobody would tolerate. Today.... well, never mind. Let's not go there, shall we?

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….

In 2012, a few lunches were inspected by government control freaks; the report then hit the Interwebs. The rest, as Henry Ford would say, is bunk.

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

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

What countries are ahead of us and why? Those oil countries on the list–not provided–should be disregarded, as the money doesn't go to anyone's capita except the powers-that-be.

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.

Excepting that redistribution of wealth was something the government did then, too. Just not as much of it as now.

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, we didn't have industrial robots. Our per-capita production per hour is still the highest on earth. We make more cars than we did in 1950 with 1/4 the workers or less. And this is a good thing. Working in car factories sucks, even if the money is good. The key issue is this: We produced $12.66 per hour in constant 1990 dollars in the year 1950. We produced $39.50 in 2011 in 1990 dollars. Not bad for the Great Recession.

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.

Oh? And what, precisely is the relationship between gang members and open borders? There are no non-Hispanic white gang members? No African American gang members? Is that odor I smell anti-Hispanic bigotry? And did we mention the entire U.S. military was nearly thrown off the Korean peninsula by a bunch of commie farmers with hand me down tanks?

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.

Detroit has been my family's home since 1808. There are about 3 million people living directly outside of Detroit, and many of them are doing what their parents did living in the borders of the city of Detroit. Sure, if you go by the strict definition of "the city of Detroit", the place IS a wasteland. But if you include the burbs, we're actually STILL one of the great cities of the world. Just divided into 100 little towns and cities instead of glommed together into one big one.

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, the DJIA was at the 1790 mark in 2012 dollars.

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 may be a problem. Film at 11 on this one.

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.

This is definitely a problem, particularly as we are about to redefine marriage into something unrecognizable. I have said enough for now.

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, a plane ticket cost about $250.00 to fly from NY to Chicago. In 2012, a plane ticket costs about $250.00 to fly from NY to Chicago. Of course, $250.00 in 1950 is $2240.00 in present cash. No wonder people dressed up in suits and dresses before getting on an airplane. They were rich enough to have them before they bought the ticket.

As for the TSA gropers, of course in 1950, evil insecurity goons had yet to fly our aircraft into major office buildings....

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.

Again, a problem, but we're an enormously richer country than we were in 1950.

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.

"I suggest that there are some neighborhoods in New York I would not suggest that you try to invade." - Rick Blaine to Major Strasser, 1943, Casablanca–which suggests that there were crappy neighborhoods back then, too.

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.

Perhaps. Eastily solved, just don't reelect the Democrats this year. But remember in 1950, the American people had a great love for lynching black folk, too--so things were never a bed of roses in this country.

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.

This is also a problem.

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.

In 1950, the U.S. national debt was about 257 billion dollars, or $2,301,000,00 in current cash. Our national debt right now is about 7.5 times in 1950. Of course, we just survived a major recession, too.

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

And the other is the endless ability of the nostalgic to forget what sucked about the past.

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.

Not so good, but again, not everything on this list shows improvement.

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.

Actually, no, we had about this much debt at the end of WW2.

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

Like this one: The US had an economy of $1.707 TRILLION dollars in 1950. Today it's $12.531 TRILLION dollars. Adjusted for inflation. Our population was 150 million in 1950. Today it's 310 million. That's a mean increase of 11380 per capital to.... $41,770 PER CAPITA in constant dollars. Or an increase PER CAPITA of 366% of PER CAPITA income.

And while it may be somewhat less comfortable to be a middle aged white guy in 2012 than it was in 1950, at least Jim Crow is dead, white only drinking fountains and toilets are unknown, black people can travel and find a hotel, and the kind of mindless discrimination that made up the background noise in our nation in the past is at last dead and gone. Thank God almighty to that degree at least, we are free at last.

No, I do not want to live in the 1950s. Our national Childhood is over.

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