Composition & Rhetoric
September 12, 2011
Remembering the “The Good Old Days”
People sometimes reminisce on the past with nostalgia, remembering the “Good Old Days” and how values and ethics have seemed to disappear. In the 1950’s, like in no other decade, people became homeowners; prosperity was plentiful and bad times were thought to be something of the past. Capitalism was working and it was working well, to have a better life than one’s parents was only matter of willingness. Clearly it is evident why “Americans chose the 1950’s than any other single decade as the best time for children to grow up.” (Pg32) In the essay “What We really Miss About the 1950’s” Stephanie Coontz has made several observations that “The Golden Age” was not brought by a thriving free-market competition but by large government spending to provide jobs and benefits to millions of Americans that which resembled a socialistic nation. Coontz implies that Americans miss high taxes and large government spending, because of the prosperity they brought. “40 percent of young men were eligible for veterans benefits, and these benefits were far more extensive than those available to Vietnam-era vets.”(pg42) Apart from these benefits people began to have high paying jobs, many provided by government programs. The government also made it easier for Americans to finance a house by “creating two new national Burberg 2
institutions to facilitate home loans, allowed veterans to put down payments as low as a dollar on a house, and offered tax breaks to people who bought homes.”(42,43) WWII brought the highest level of taxation the United States has ever experienced; “top earning Americans paid 87 percent of their income while corporate taxes were 52 percent (pg42).” these rates were kept well thru the 1950’s. Coontz argues that this extra revenue made it possible for many veterans to go to college almost tuition-free, create the Interstate Highway...
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