wndsofchng06

Remember the past, cautiously

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While taking time at lunch to watch a celebration of the work and life of Martin Luther King Jr., I couldn't help but think that as old car lovers we often find ourselves reminiscing or fantasizing (for those younger members) about a time gone by.  Let's not forget about the trials and struggles that got us where we are today.  Let's not forget, the past is different for everyone, we all have a different journey,  some not so rosey. I for one appreciate the style and simplicity of the past, however I would never live there.  Appreciate the treasures we care for from the times gone by, but also appreciate the forward movement of the human story.  Remember that we are all 99.999% genetically identical and appreciate the differences in your neighbors, friends, coworkers.....Do something good!

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Edited by wndsofchng06 (see edit history)
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Michael, my shop manager and close friend, is African-American. We were joking about time travel over lunch a few days ago and wondered if you could go back in time to any period in history, where would you go? He said he wouldn't go anywhere past the 1980s (he's in his mid-50s). "There's nothing good happening back then for someone like me," he said. Yeah, kind of strikes a chord, doesn't it?

 

I'm also reminded of a comedian whose bit was similar, except that he said as a middle-aged white male, he could go to ANY place, ANY period in history and be welcomed with open arms and probably treated better than most of the other people who are already there. 

 

THAT is some perspective.

 

We should remember not to get complacent. As soon as things get too good, too easy, nothing seems to matter; we start to backslide and our worst instincts start to take over again. It takes work to be a better person, but as soon as that work is done a lot of people seem to forget it pretty quickly.

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Also remember that as recently as the 1970s, the top tax bracket was 90%...

 

How rosy are our glasses, eh?

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

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Anyone making enough money they would fall into that bracket are making enough to pay a good advisor/ attorney on how to make sure they are paying at a much lower rate.   I wonder how many people actually paid that bracket then?  I've always said careful how you tax the well to do.  They are the ones with the means to locate to a favorable tax bracket,  then you get nothing from them.  A little of something is better than 90 percent of nothing.  Kind of like taxes in previously well to do areas.  They kept hiking them,  then the people move elsewhere.  They might be collecting the same or more land tax but The people with money that stimulated the economy by frequenting the businesses are no where around so those businesses close and you can see the path down which that takes you. Several US cities have gone that way. 

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If I was going to seek to go back in time, it would be to the middle 1960s.  There were lots of interesting cars during that time.  The then-used cars from the middle '50s, the '60s cars, and looking forward to something newer and better in future years.  Lots of optimism, as I recall, back then.  Tax rates might have been higher, but it's been proven many times that the best economies happened, in the USA, when tax rates were higher.  Those taxes financed the expanding Interstate Highway System, other big infrastructure projects, and the best equipped military in then-modern history.  Lots of defense contractor jobs that paid very well, but took a certain person to do them for a long time.  Can't forget the rising middle class, either!  New Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Pontiacs, Chryslers, Dodges, etc. plus upscale versions of the more common Fords, Chevys, and Plymouths.  Even some nice Ramblers!  Many people sought employment in "good professions" that paid well for their time, which funded the many upscale items of the time.  NOT to forget the improved color televisions of the time!  It was about "moving up" in life with a higher standard of living than the grand parents might have had.

 

If somebody was really in that top tax bracket, it was their own fault for paying that much, as there were many deductions and such back then, which could be used, some creatively, to decrease the amount of taxes paid.  Get too creative, then "the agents" might come calling.

 

The other neat thing was that automotive engineering was at a high point that plateaued into the 1970s.  GM had many acknowledge "world class" components (well before that term was popular to use.  A/C compressors, power steering gears and pumps, etc.  By 1965, they were all at or very near the top of their game.  The T%HM400 was everywhere, as was the Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic.  The Ford C-6 came in '66.  So much good engineering to sample and enjoy!  Plus the styling and colors of the cars and their interiors!f  It was a time to be a younger car enthusiast (aka "car freak")!

 

I will readily admit that for non-white people, things might not have been quite so easy.  Segregation was more prevalent than "integration", typically, but there were also black entrepreneurs that helped the black citizens get things from them that they might not have otherwise been able to acquire.  Bankers, business owners, etc., for example.  A world that many whites might not have known about, but existed in many places.  Granted, much of the white economy was not available to these people, for various reasons.  And that's for a whole 'nuther conversation!

 

Our society made a lot of positive strides, many of which had their starts in the 1960s.  Gradually extended into the 1970s.  But most of what we THOUGHT we had achieved started to flame-out in the later 1990s and into Y2K+ times.  Some benefited, others were the victim of stagnant economic growth, as others seemed to start rekindling the fires of the past.

 

I read a comment the other day.  "The older we get, the better we used to be."  I don't remember where I saw that, but it also dove-tails with the Toby Keith song about being as good as you ever were, but once rather than repeatedly.  Past "mistakes" are now viewed through many varied perceptual filters. 

 

Regardless of the past, lets do what we can to make the future as good as it can be for ourselves and later generations.  And THAT is a very multi-faceted situation, no matter what.

 

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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As an African American child of the 60s, I lived in California but spent a fair amount of time during the summers in rural Alabama. Almost every summer, my parents would pack up the Buick, initially a 57 Roadmaster 75, followed by a 61 Electra 225 and then a 65 Sportwagon, and we would drive the 3 day journey to see my grandparents on the land they farmed in Alabama. My parents were the first of their respective families to graduate college, and they felt it was extremely important to understand the world they came from.  I have vivid memories of the injustices we experienced while there, and those memories are a part of who I am today. Yet we had plenty of good times, in the midst of great injustices, and there was much love when we were with our family...so my thoughts are both good and bad. My aunts and uncles marched with Dr. King in the marches leading up to the Selma march, and they were jailed. Although I look back fondly on my visits to rural Alabama, I will not forget the struggles and sacrifices my parents and grandparents and great grandparents endured so that my generation could have the opportunities we enjoy today. Without a doubt, my family benefited from the economic growth and expansion of opportunities for African Americans that took place during the 60s and 70s. And yet there is still plenty of hate and bigotry in our society today, so there is much work still to be done. So please be careful about romanticizing that era. Yes, there was much that was good about the simplicity of the times and the character that many people demonstrated. The cars were fantastic and quite memorable. But all wasn't rosy...enjoy and relish the good things, and resolve not to let the bad stuff seep back into our current discourse. If we can do that, while looking for opportunities where we can help others improve their station in life, we will be learning and growing and maturing as individuals and as a society.

 

Just my 2 cents...

Mike

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I will strongly concur that "all was not rosy" in all respects and in all regions of this nation, in the middle '60s.  I have noticed that many people of color, who lived through all of those situations, tend to have a very basic way of cutting through the hype to make accurate determinations of what's what in more current times.  Like a young military man of the '60s having to enter certain restaurants via the back door to a particular area where they could buy a meal.  Many of those things tended to be invisible from sight of normal patrons, but we know it happened.  Just as separate water fountains and rest rooms did.  Everybody tended to have their challenges back then, NOT to minimalize ANY of them, just that some had a different set of challenges to deal with than others.

 

I was glad that we seemed to be on a path toward color neutrality in the 1990s.  Then it plateaued at a good place, but has now seemed to head backwards, which is highly unfortunate, to me.  I'm hoping the past achievements can be regained and expanded in future times . . . in my lifetime.  I'm guardedly optimistic, but I know it needs to happen for best results (which some might not completely agree with, which I understand).

 

Thanks for your comments, mp67riv!

 

NTX5467 

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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10 hours ago, mp67riv said:

As an African American child of the 60s, I lived in California but spent a fair amount of time during the summers in rural Alabama. Almost every summer, my parents would pack up the Buick, initially a 57 Roadmaster 75, followed by a 61 Electra 225 and then a 65 Sportwagon, and we would drive the 3 day journey to see my grandparents on the land they farmed in Alabama. My parents were the first of their respective families to graduate college, and they felt it was extremely important to understand the world they came from.  I have vivid memories of the injustices we experienced while there, and those memories are a part of who I am today. Yet we had plenty of good times, in the midst of great injustices, and there was much love when we were with our family...so my thoughts are both good and bad. My aunts and uncles marched with Dr. King in the marches leading up to the Selma march, and they were jailed. Although I look back fondly on my visits to rural Alabama, I will not forget the struggles and sacrifices my parents and grandparents and great grandparents endured so that my generation could have the opportunities we enjoy today. Without a doubt, my family benefited from the economic growth and expansion of opportunities for African Americans that took place during the 60s and 70s. And yet there is still plenty of hate and bigotry in our society today, so there is much work still to be done. So please be careful about romanticizing that era. Yes, there was much that was good about the simplicity of the times and the character that many people demonstrated. The cars were fantastic and quite memorable. But all wasn't rosy...enjoy and relish the good things, and resolve not to let the bad stuff seep back into our current discourse. If we can do that, while looking for opportunities where we can help others improve their station in life, we will be learning and growing and maturing as individuals and as a society.

 

Just my 2 cents...

Mike

 

Word!

 

And...I also grew up with a '65 Sportwagon.

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Cool!...and thanks for taking the time to read and respond!

We had lots of good times in that Sportwagon! Ours was a light blue 9 passenger "Custom" with all the goodies. I loved the raised roof and always thought it was one of the coolest wagons of the 60s and was disappointed when Buick ended production a few years ahead of Olds. The 70 Estate Wagon which replaced the Sportwagon was never as unique and cool in my opinion.

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