There was a time, right after WWII when the US understood the value of a productive well-paid workforce and consumers with money to spend. In the mid-fifties we had a growing robust economy, insignificant deficits, were constructing national highways and a national utility grid, union membership stood at 35%, and the top marginal tax rate of 91% that encouraged reinvestment. I'm not sure why balanced budgets and widespread prosperity lost favor and elected officials shifted their focus to punishing workers and exploiting consumers to reward big transnational monopolies. 

But the movement away from workers and consumers and toward transnational mega-corporations and their growing influence on government can be seen when we look at extracts of the

1956 Republican Platform

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Such a set of enlightened and people-first priorities represents a sharp rebuke to the policies subsequently enacted and the resulting consequences:

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