Great story in Forbes on the improving lot of Americans now vs 1967. Clearly things have improved if you look at the median family as this country surpasses the 300 million pop. mark.
" Mr. and Mrs. Median's $46,326 in annual income is 32% more than their mid-'60s counterparts, even when adjusted for inflation, and 13% more than those at the median in the economic boom year of 1985. And thanks to ballooning real estate values, average household net worth has increased even faster. The typical American household has a net worth of $465,970, up 83% from 1965, 60% from 1985 and 35% from 1995. "
So, given that we're all richer, why don't we feel like it?
Talk to the average person and they'll tell you they work harder, longer and have less security than their parents. The answer, according to this article, is that people don't compare their lot to their parents, they compare it to personal expectations. If they were expecting a 4% raise, and only got 3%, they feel screwed. They also compare to what others are making here and everywhere--it's much easier to compare salaries and everything else now than 30 years ago. If Joe made $100k selling his ratty house, mine should be at least $150k?
Then there are all the big shots making outrageous salaries, making us all feel like paupers.
The $19 million that Wal-Mart Chief Lee Scott raked in last year was 410 times what Mr. and Mrs. Median made, as opposed to the $469,000 a year earned by Exxon's Ken Jamieson in 1975, which was a mere 40 times more. If that's not enough, consider the celebrities and sports stars. Joe Namath made a mere $848,000 back in the 60s (today's dollars) vs Tiger Woods' $87 million last year.
For these people, these are the good old days.