COMMENT Bob Weaver|
In the 1950s, rebounding from World War II, Calhoun families were much connected after 1,700 Calhoun men and women marched off to the Great War against Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, hundreds injured, several prisoners of war and 52 not returning to the county.
While biased, coming of age in the 50s, was the most gratifying time to be alive, despite the Cold War.
No country on earth had ever known such prosperity, certainly for blue-collar workers who experienced the economic rewards.
Now, in the 21st Century, many Americans have been convinced that one percent holding 99% of the wealth and globalization is good for us, although all statistics show that the so-called American Middle Class has been declining for over 30 years, wages and benefits.
Most Americans in 2018 seem fine with the gigantic tax cut passed by Washington, which by all studies benefits the nation's most wealthy with a few temporary bones for the rest of us, attached to "trickle down economics," we'll all benefit.
While many of us depended on right wing politicians to reduce the national debt, with the tax cut it went up $1 trillion. Oh, well.
Despite high employment, wages have been stagnant since the 1990s.
Millions, after years of hard work, have lost or seen a decline in their promised benefits and retirement programs. I'm included in that group.
Further distressing is that technology will soon be erasing millions of more jobs.
Washington politicos, while taking widely opposing sides, are on board with the changes, while slugging it out on TV and the media every day, where lying is the new normal.
Lying is so popular with voters now, it would seem difficult for a politician to win otherwise.
In the 1950s, no country had ever known such prosperity.
With or without a college education, a graduate of Calhoun County High School could easily find a good paying job to own their own home, raise their family and live a prosperous middle class life, including the ability to send their kids to college.
No longer true.
Now, with the globalization of even low paying blue collar jobs, those with a work gene struggle to find one even in regional counties.
That 1950s prosperity allowed most Americans to have things they could never imagine. Human beings had never been happier.
They looked forward to the future too, in ways they will never do again.
The 50s, a time of gratitude coupled with simplicity, when families and neighbors sat down to Sunday dinner and visited each other, bound together with Christian beliefs.
Americans were not yet entertaining themselves to death.
Now, it seems we have lost our moral compass, with a large percentage of Americans saying they are "nones," no religious preference, paying little attention to the transgressions of their newly elected president.
Now the wealthiest people and the largest corporations, with the help of their lobbyists and politicians, are doing phenomenally well.
While 99 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent, the top one-tenth of 1 percent own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
Both left and right media, while spinning it differently, appear on board with the distribution of wealth, with the national media now owned by five giant corporations.
Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages and median family income is almost $5,000 less than it was in 1999.
Washington has failed to raise the federal minimum wage.
The largest corporations in this country have closed thousands of factories, including dozens in this immediate region, and outsourced millions of American jobs to low-wage countries overseas.
Again, technology and mechanization has eliminated millions of jobs.
President Trump will correct this, he says.
In West Virginia, the largest employer has been Walmart and fast food.
Large corporations and their lobbyists have created loopholes enabling corporations to avoid an estimated $100 billion a year in taxes by shifting profits to the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens, while they blame social program "takers," desiring to privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for more private sector profit.
Virtually no politician is willing to challenge them, although Trump has pledged to "Make America Great Again." Little is said about changing the favoritism of the tax code, a code thicker than the Holy Bible.
Little blame for the national debt is placed on the most recent wars, reports indicating they cost a staggering $4-6 trillion dollars.
In the last two years, the wealthiest 14 people in this country increased their wealth by $157 billion. That increase is more than is owned by the bottom 130 million Americans - combined.
I guess I'll just wallow on memories of the 50s.