Saturday, September 01, 2012

You Didn't Build That

My parents' lives (born 1916 and 1918) were significantly better than their parents (rural and poor) due to 3 things: technology, the government and unions.

Technology improvements included the car and improvements in agricultural production that led to the need for fewer farm workers. This opened opportunities for other kinds of work and careers in the growing cities and post-war suburbs.

Government helped through Social Security, the GI Bill (led to college educations for many), FHA backed home loans, and the interstate highway system. Oh, and Medicare.

Unions helped by creating work rules and raising the standard of living for everyone.

I must also note that these things benefited white Americans while excluding non-white Americans. The initial versions of Social Security excluded occupations held primarily by black Americans, and black GIs were excluded from the GI Bill and the FHA discriminated against black Americans, too. These exclusions were a sop to get the votes of Southern legislators in order to pass these innovative and helpful government programs that basically created the middle class (for whites).  You might even call government action in the '30s, '40s and '50s affirmative action for whites.

So guess what white America? YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT without technology, the government and unions.