How America Has Changed
November 10, 2008
By Alan Caruba
This is a very different generation of Americans from those that preceded it. They have passed through the politically correct indoctrination of government/union controlled schools and have little accurate knowledge of history with which to make informed judgments. They are more the product of popular media and culture than any previous generation.
The struggle for civil rights dominated the 1960s. The Watergate scandal marked the 1970s and the nation experienced its first serious military defeat after a protracted war in Vietnam. The rise of the Islamic Revolution began in 1979 and, though Americans tried to ignore it throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it led to the 9/11 attack in 2001. The nation has been engaged militarily in the Middle East ever since. Events alter perceptions.
Here are some of the ways that America has changed since the 1960s:
The nuclear family-mother, father and children-is no longer the most common household type. It was in 1960, but today the nuclear family ranks third among alternative types of households behind married couples without children at home (mostly older, empty-nesters) and people living alone (also among the growing demographic of older Americans.) Divorce and out-of-wedlock births have caused the number of single parents to increase dramatically.
Most children have working mothers. In America today, 69% of married mothers work. The result is that most are in daycare programs being raised and cared for by people other than their parents. Fully 24% of pregnancies today end in abortion.
Only 16% of Americans think that our nation's schools are doing a good job. To put it another way, 84% think schools are failing in their mission to education today's children. There are ample statistics to demonstrate this. For example, only 39% of white students in fourth grade were reading at or above their grade level in 2005. Among black students, it was only 12%. Asian American students, however, scored at 40%! Educators tell me that today's schools are virtual zoos requiring all manner of monitoring of disruptive students. Fear rules the halls of too many schools, inner city and suburban.
The median household income peaked in 1999 after some forty years of rising incomes. Between 1967 and 2006 the median household income grow by 32%, after adjusting for inflation, to $48,201. The average American household makes $1,000 less than it did a few years ago. The earning power of men peaked in 1989. Between 1967 and 2006, the median earnings of women who worked full-time grew by 53%. Together, those incomes allowed families to buy houses, SUVs, and other top dollar items. By contrast, though, the median debt of average American households is $55,300!
The Social Security Trust Fund will exhaust its surplus in 2041. Nine out of ten people aged 65 years or older receive a Social Security check each month. It accounts for 40% of their income.
In a recent issue of Budget & Tax News, published by The Heartland Institute, an article noted that "Federal regulations cost Americans almost as much as the income tax and more than 40 percent of all federal spending...Federal environmental, safety, health, and economic regulations cost more than $1 trillion a year in addition to the costs of official federal spending."
Americans, by just under 80% think the United States is a better nation than all others. Given the large voter turnout, it is interesting to note that those most likely to vote are aged 65 to 74.
Only 63% of Americans believe in God and have no doubts about it, but 57% believe that it is not necessary to believe in God to be a moral person with good values. Fully 67% think that America is a Christian nation.
According to the 2000 Census, America was home to 63 distinct racial groups, but it was the first census in which individuals could identify themselves as belonging to more than one such group, i.e., were multiracial. Whites constituted 211 million people. Blacks were 14% of the population and represented 25% of those living in poverty, but non-Hispanic whites represented 44%. Blacks constitute 41 million Americans and are outnumbered five to one by whites.
Despite the failure of sub-prime mortgages, fully 68% of households own a home. The Great Depression caused such losses that the government created the Federal Housing Administration and a new system of financing, the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage. By 1950 home ownership rate had climbed to 55%. Allowing people to buy homes with no money down and a reasonable expectation of paying their monthly mortgage has proven to be a very bad idea.
If you were born in 1901 as my father was, life expectancy was 47 years. By 2006, the average life expectancy was 78! (He lived to 93. My mother lived to 98!) The leading cause of death in America is heart disease. More than two million Americans die of this cause every year.
America is a very different nation from what it was at the end of World War II. Though literally the most prosperous of all nations, it is also heavily in debt as the result of profligate spending that did not begin with the Bush administration, but was exacerbated by it. The bill is coming due.
A dedicated communist, Antonio Gramsci, wrote a book setting out a strategy for taking over strong Western democracies by infiltrating their churches and educational system, as well as a nation's media.
In America, our media has been particularly useful in diverting public attention to a bogus crisis, global warming, thus ensuring that billions would be spent by the federal and state governments imposing regulatory mandates and costs for various "solutions." It is unconscionable that news and broadcast media continue to report on global warming when the Earth is a decade into a major new cooling cycle.
Communism, said Gramsci, could be imposed by turning churches into ideology-driven political clubs. Educational systems had to be dumbed down and offer a politically correct curriculum. Mass media had to discredit traditional institutions such as marriage and commonly shared moral values.
If any of this looks like America today, consider yourself warned.