Up until around the mid twentieth century, the woman’s place was in the home. Wife, mother, homemaker was the “job” for most women. Those who were not married or had to work were relegated to limited careers, generally lower paying with no growth opportunity. Clearly women were discriminated against; a rigged system. I remember seeing it first hand.
And then along came the 1960s and 70s and things began to change. In fact, women were told their traditional role was not fulfilling, that role made them less of a person, more dependent; that they needed a job, a career.
👩🏻🏭”Marriage works best for men than women. The two happiest groups are married men and unmarried women.”👩🚒”No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.” 👩🏼🚀”If women have young children, they are one man away from welfare.”👩🏾✈️”A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.”. Gloria Steinhem
Off women went into the workforce; still rigged against them by the way.
Now families had two incomes, more money to spend. That meant two cars, a bigger house, vacations and more stuff. For many it also meant frequently upgrading all these possessions. The result of this growing demand for goods and services was higher and higher prices. Americans began living up to every penny of their means and beyond.
Back in the 1920s the average American home was 1500 sf, today it is a 1,000 fee larger and with smaller families. In the past Americans lived in their home a lifetime with the goal of paying off the mortgage before entering old age. Today the average homeowner sells their house every 5-7 years. In 1943 an average house cost $3,600 if you applied inflation to 2017, the average would be $50,691.95. Instead it is nearly $200,000 and much higher in many parts of the Country.
Those rising prices and the desire to have all the stuff resulted in two incomes being a NECESSITY; today Americans are trapped.
Now both adults enjoy the stress of full-time work and the family becomes another scheduling problem. Not only that, they are at greater risk because they have built a lifestyle and created obligations dependent on two incomes. The backup of a non-employed spouse being able to obtain a job is gone. Even with two incomes many families don’t save and retirement is increasingly questionable.
At the same time, the higher standard of living which drove up prices coupled with a changed economy and the jobs that are part of the new economy make it far more difficult for young couples starting out. As is often the case, the next generations suffer the most from the choices made before them.
So yes, the system may be rigged, but it was rigged by Americans themselves, mostly the boomer generation, not by billionaires or big business or Wall Street. Even the Great Recession can be attributed in large part to imprudent spending and borrowing by individuals seeking to achieve or sustain something beyond their means.