I'm 52 years old. Old enough to remember many of "the good ol' days". My parents both worked. As I recall, my father's pay went toward the house. My mother's went to the luxuries. Luxuries being a nice vacation, usually a few days out of state or a few day trips to places of interest.
When my mother didn't work, we didn't starve. If my father's place was on strike, we didn't starve. When my father's place closed and he had to find a different occupation, we didn't starve.
1. Does anybody remember similar situations.?
2. Does anybody remember when two salaries weren't required?
3. Does anybody remember what the tax rates, welfare rates were?
Why am I thinking it was about the time Carter was President?
Ah, yes: I remember it well.
Until 1977, only my dad worked. My mom started working the year after I went to college (as did I, part-time at school, to help pay my living expenses).
The top marginal rate on earned income in 1977 was 50%1
- pretty high, but it kicked in at around $203,000 (equivalent today = @$782,000)2
The truth is that very few people actually paid that rate
, but availed themselves of tax-deferred retirement pensions and investments such as municipal bonds. In 1979 (the closest year for which I could find data, there were only 12,635
Federal income tax returns in excess of $500,000), out of 84 million
Thee combination of high marginal tax rates, inflation and persistent unemployment dragged the economy down, until Ronald Reagan began to turn things around in 1981-2.
But it was a better time, in so many ways. America was freer, safer, happier, and yes, you could still support a family on a single full-time job.
Now, increasingly it takes 3-4 part-time
jobs to accomplish the same thing. And we are far less free, safe, united, and happy as a nation.
1 Source = http://top-federal-tax-rates.findthedata.org/l/62/1977
2 Source = http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm3 Source= http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-Individual-Time-Series-Statistical-Tables#_grp7