What I DID find interesting is that the "golden era" of American society has a great deal more correlation with a narrowing of the concentration of wealth gap. Let's take a look at two graphs. The first one talks about the distribution of wealth within the United States. The graph should be self explanatory, but since the average American seems to be a frikkin idiot, I'll explain briefly. The longer the line on the graph, the more of a disparity there is. And this isn't a top 2% type of graph (then the line would be much longer) but of the top 20$ versus the bottom 20%. That encompasses 40% of the population of this country. It shows that there is a very skewed bulge of wealth distribution within the country itself. (Click on each image to see the graph in full size.)
And then look at this graph:
Rather an interesting correlation between those two graphs! Then the thng that really made me think about how people pine for "the old days" when things seemed much better, was this graph. I think THIS is the graph that brings it all home.
Given what we know about the correlation of religiosity and problems, AND what we know about skewed income distributions and problems, we are in an interesting area of thought. As the religiosity of the US was gaining influence in the 50s, there was a sudden increase of problems in "juvenile delinquency" and other such ills. There was a decrease in religiosity and conservative thought in the late 60s and early 70s, and many societal ills were getting addressed. But then suddenly the distribution of wealth got skewed, so problems were back on the increase. Add to that the increase in radical or fundamental religiosity, and now we have a double whammy of problems getting heaped on the US.
It has nothing to do with taking god(s) and prayer out of schools and public displays (which the data points to being a correlating factor for societal ills, but now the huge disparity in wealth distribution is what's helping drive the more visible societal ills.
Okay, so I've shown data and correlations... So what? Hell, with my new job, I'll actually be in the top 20%, and actually in the top 5%... You know what? I don't mind paying a few extra taxes. I just wish that the programs we had in place were actually effective though. Right now, the social programs of the United States are only slightly more effective than prayer (meaning that while prayer has ZERO effectiveness, these programs are only slightly above that). If I am going to pay taxes, I'd like for the to actually work.
It's funny how sometimes people hold up the government as the model of inefficiency, yet they enjoy some incredibly efficient government services. The US Postal Service is the best in the world. How about the safety of our drinking water? The highway system? Out air traffic system. Sure, they are starting to show their age, and are in desperate need of updates, but damn, the government did a damn fine job of that. And our armed forces. That is a government run and controlled program that has no parallel in human history. Even the Romans didn't come close to the level of professionalism and competence of the United States military. Yet people seem to think that the entire government is a bunch of buffoons. I think that only applies to the elected critters at the national level. The people actually doing the work are damn competent, and will continue to be.
Anyway, this whole rant was just about the fact that religiosity has nothing to do with social ills (aside from making them worse). It's the total greediness and douchebaggery of people that really drags societies down. I'm not an economist, nor am I any type of legislator, so I'mnot really sure what canbe done to solve a lot of the problems. And to be honest, it would negativelly affect my income... But maybe having a fair and stable society would be somewhat worth it. Sure beats the gigantic clusterfuck of assholes and douche bags that are running around everywhere I look.