History #1

14 03 2009

Ok ‘nuf said about the stock market and all that depressing stuff. It’s time to pay attention to what has happened in our lifetimes, especially those of us old enough to remember when it was always better.

When the big depression hit in the 20’s and 30’s, the country went completely bust.  Everyone was out of a job.  Well, not everyone, just those who really wanted to be without a job.  The problem was not jobs, but a lack of communication about jobs.  My father worked every day all thru the depression years.  He worked on a newspaper and the paper was put out regardless of the times and so he had a job.  Others who were not so fortunate to be in a business that had to work did find themselves out of a job for a long time, but then the country was not very well organized at that time.  There was a lot of country out here and a lot of rural living.  Most of them grew their own crops, raised their own animals and survived on their own wit.  Those who did not know how to do so were the ones who suffered.  Growing crops and farm animals is not fun, and anyone can lose their possessions overnight if they are dependent on the weather such was life in America at that time. Dust bowl, drought, flooding, all natural disasters occurred pretty frequently.  The Mississippi was not controlled at that time, neither were any of the other rivers.  Flooding was a way of life.  

So politically, Mr. Hoover got the blame for everything and Mr. Roosevelt had all the answers.  His answers were that everyone needed a job and everyone could have one.  He made up jobs and put everyone to work doing something.  He started the WPA and the CCC and many other working programs.  This got people up off their duff and willing to work again and this was the most important part of his plan: getting the people motivated.  And after he got them up and moving, then there was The War.  This took care of everyone else who did not want to work.  Everyone got a job in the Army or another branch of the services.  Everyone got something to eat, a new wardrobe, and a place to call home.  This was the answer to everything and prosperity reigned supreme once again.  It had been a hard time, no doubt about any of that.  But now things would be rosy and wonderful and great for everyone.  And it was for a short span of time.

Then the War ended and all those young men came home again.  Jobs were scarce, inflation was running rampant, scarcity of consumer products was high, and the country was headed for trouble once again.  Then programs were begun to help everyone get a leg up on life.  GI Bills were put into place to provide education for all these young men (they didn’t have to work while they went to school on the GI Bill). Over time, their education opened up better jobs for them.  Then housing bills and programs were begun. Anyone who really wanted to purchase a home could do so now.  No more rent.  No more homeless.  Everyone could have a home!  And they did.  This once again gave the incentive for work, work, work.  And the women stayed home and took care of the families and the children came one after another just as they should have in this now prosperous America.  Now schools had to be built, shopping areas had to be opened, grocery stores had to expand, and the country was on the move. Production had to be heightened on those items that were in scarce supply. As a result, jobs became plentiful and everyone had a paycheck, such a great life for everyone.  Everyone was doing great!  Taxes were low, gasoline was cheap, and cars were being produced in great numbers to satisfy all those consumers who could suddenly afford to buy cars, houses, shoes for the children, school clothes, the best food ever, and even some extras.  Why, Christmas buying even became the big event of the year.  Everyone had a Christmas Club at the bank or something similar in order to save money for that all expensive Christmas Season.  Wow!  We really had it made in America.   Things were great, grand and glorious! 

More in History #2