You know, it WAS a Golden Age - Mid Century U.S.

The standard - and justified - response is always, “Sure, if you were a straight, white, christian male,” but that ignores a very important belief that we’ve lost, that the country and her people are worth investment.

The United States used to invest in her infrastructure and in her citizens. From the alphabet soup of the Depression, through the industrial ramp up of World War II and the Cold War, up to the end of the 70s, we build municipal buildings, and parks, and the interstates, and community colleges, and affordable housing, and all the social benefits of the GI bill. And we paid for all that with taxes, and were proud to do so.

We did have a Golden Age, and we lost it to a selfish decision to cut taxes and investment.

Oh dear God another one of those whiny ignorant threads about how government made America great and not industrial Post-War monopoly that afforded middle-class lifestyles to uneducated laborers.

Jesus Christ, why isn’t modern Europe the paragon of Mid-Century halcyon utopianism?

They sure as fuck tax and invest a lot, don’t they?

With some notable exceptions: I’ve heard it said that since the '90s Los Angeles County has been diligently and at great expense rebuilding the Pacific Electric railways that dissolved in 1961. :smack: The Bay Area similarly let the electric Key System across the Bay Bridge from the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco to a network on the East Bay dissolve in 1958 only to start building an expensive Transbay Tube for BART in less than a decade. :eek:

Buying and incrementally modernizing either or both when their private operators were going out of business would have been a damn sight cheaper than letting them be scrapped and then later building modern replacements from scratch or damn-near scratch.

They take better care of their people than we do. Better health care, fewer guns, far fewer bankruptcies (and no medical bankruptcies.)

You pretty obviously don’t know the facts about Europe.

ETA: edited, in some desperation, because I thought this was in the Pit.

This chart indicates that total government spending has gone up as a percentage of GDP since the 50’s, so I’d contend that your basic premise is wrong.

His statement, not his premise (as yet,) was wrong. He contends that tax collections were invested internally, on local infrastructure and other relevant institutions. Now, increased taxes could mean two things: smaller purchasing power of the Dollar or more taxes but different investments. Where does today’s taxes go?

Don’t know about uneducated, but yes, working class people had a standard lf living which was in geenral terms much higher than what would ordinarily have been possible.

Well, Europe is suffering the worst financial crises since the thirties and has the most inept leadership since 1914 and has the prospect of massive social upheaval imminent. I don’t think anyone looks at Europe for guidance these days.

I do agree with the OP, the post war years saw a level of improvement in world standard of living unmatched (except perhaps in China in the last 2 decades), that is often forgotten in the strerotypical assessments of it. The rise of consumer products, the increase in lifespan and quality of life due to the introduction of new medical technologies, general peace and peosperity after nearly 4 decades of war and disorder.

Considering that chart has statistics for 2020, I’d say it’s more likely the chart is wrong.

You don’t think government has planned budgets?

The US has an $18 trillion debt so I guess the answer is not far enough.

Your graph is from a right-wing site (and is not even backed with discernable citations). :eek:
Pro-tip: If you want creditability get real data, not right-wing blabberings.

Your own cited site shows $1.5 trillion spent on Health Care. I’m not sure where he gets that figure, but much of it is for relatively new programs, and these healh care costs have ballooned recently, especially with the Bush-led payoff to Big Pharma a decade ago. Pensions have also grown due to Boomer retirements. If you lower “total government spending” on the graph by 5% of GDP just to account for these increases, and by another 2.5% (aggregate interest on national debt, caused in large measure by Bush-Cheney War and tax cuts) today’s spending on that chart would show as much less than that of the Reagan 1980’s.

Hope this helps fight your ignorance, Deeg.

Anyway, it’s rather disingenuous to include transfers like SocSec when making such an evaluation. Right-wingers understand this is “your own money being returned” when it suits their purpose to do so, and were eager not to subtract SocSec surplus from Federal deficit when that suited their propaganda.

The OP is largely correct. We built the Interstate system in those years, though we didn’t really plan for how to pay for their future maintenance and as a result we’re seeing highway budgets spread far too thin.

A Hoover Dam or TVA scale project would be quite unthinkable today, public housing and monuments are the rare project indeed. Think we’d ever build something like the St Louis Arch today? The Lincoln Memorial? Hard to think we would. We’re the generation that decided that we’d eat our free lunch and leave significant works for the next generation, if ever.

The OP has a point though; I often feel much like I imagined the post-Roman Britons did as they looked at the amazing Roman buildings and wondered just how they did that.

I mean, back in the post-war era, they built the Interstate system, they funded a space program, they funded the defense budget at something like an average of 8-9% of GDP, AND they managed to fund all sorts of scientific research at the same time, much of which underpins today’s everyday technology. And they did it without raising the national debt significantly.

Or for that matter, you can travel around lots of small towns and see the gorgeous old courthouses, built of stone. How did they afford such nice, large-scale buildings? Today they’d probably just build a shitty tilt-up or metal buildings in most of these places because they seem very cash strapped.

How’d they do it? Where’d the money go? What else are we doing with it? Is it worth it?

Most large cities have new U.S. Federal Courthouses, and they appear to have spared no expense. The ones I’ve been in, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, are all palaces.

I do love the small town one or two courtroom county courthouses of yesteryear. There’s even one in Eastern Washington (Lincoln County?) where there still is no metal detector. In Washington, they built large, impressive, and expensive buildings as a hedge to prevent the voters from moving the county seat, which was always a political struggle in the early years.

Didn’t most or all of those things we did actually tend to help straight white Christian males more than everybody else? Just noticing.

Niall Ferguson has the opinion that it was done due to a long-standing civic sense amongst both private citizens and politicians; people wanted to be remembered for bettering their communities and countries; which he says is now lacking. I don’t agree with him, but the “me” culture does not exactly encourage civic responsibility.

I do wonder if future historians will see our views of the past, our opinions about their perceived social deficiencies in the same way as we see the past’s critisism of Rome fo its lack of piety?

It would be helpful if you had given your own cite instead of just hand-waving away mine. Then you might have noticed that the first cite was largely correct. Here’s one from

I wish you’d read my complete post – it was only short – before clicking Reply. I acknowledged your stat, just thought it helpful ignorance-fighting to remind you that yours was a right-wing propaganda site; there are plenty of sites with real stats. Most amusing that your response to that was to link to … Forbes! :eek: :stuck_out_tongue:

But somehow you completely missed the key point of my post.

What do you say to the point that spending is significantly less than under Reagan when interest payments and higher healthcare spending are ignored ?

What’s your point? ANYTHING that benefits the population at large will primarily help straight, white Christian males more than anyone else, save straight, white Christian females.

I think the question is really where is the money going? If in say… 1960, the Federal government was able to do all the things that I listed in my previous post, and today, they’re having to borrow like there’s no tomorrow to do lesser things, where’s the big black hole of money?

I suspect it’s the growth of social programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that have sucked up that portion of the Federal budget, for good or ill.