In his Nov. 6 column, Jeff Jardine recalls the halcyon days following the war when the Stanislaus middle class – operating on the income from a single household check – could afford the amenities of membership in the S.O.S. Club.
The Great Prosperity, the time between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, provides a lesson. “Small government” conservatives fix blame for our current economic malaise on the prolific spending and reckless borrowing by American individuals and all levels of government (Measure X comes to mind). Their favorite mantra is we are “living beyond our means.”
No, we’re not. We’re trying to at least stay even with the lifestyle earned during the Great Prosperity. Today’s S.O.S. club wannabes need two paychecks to survive. They work harder and longer than before. They can only maintain their Great Prosperity lifestyle by borrowing, i.e. mortgaging their home. Capitalism collapses when the middle class runs out of money.
The solution: the redistribution of wealth via changes in the tax code. More money in the hands of middle-class Americans eager to spend on “extras” like an S.O.S. club membership will provide the impetus to get us out of the Great Recession ditch.