over and over again, and if we study them, hopefully we can
prevent making the same ones ourselves.
There are a LOT of great comparisons right now to be drawn
between the Great Depression and our current economic
mess...from banks being to huge and powerful, to the stock
market being a joke, to the Enron scandal, to home
foreclosures, to the concentration of wealth among the top one
or two percent of Americans, to nutsos yelling about Socialism.
Here's a rather lengthy but revealing chart that your students
might find interesting. You could have them review the wide
range of federal income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans
over the last century. In 1921, the wealthiest Americans were
in the 73% tax bracket. By 1925, their tax rate had dropped to
25% and remained there until, guess what? AFTER the Great
Depression, when Congress passed the Tax Act of 1932, raising
that top bracket to 63%. In 1936 the top bracket was raised to
79%, and by 1944 it had risen to 94%.
The top tax bracket remained above 90% throughout the postwar
"Boom Years" of the 1950's (back when ordinary Americans could
afford houses, cars, and feeding their children), and was
lowered to 77% in 1964.
That top bracket remained at 70% or above until the "Reagan
Revolution" of the 1980's, and our nation's wealth has been
trickling UPWARD ever since. By the time Reagan left office,
the wealthiest Americans were paying only 28%.
That top bracket has never again risen past 39-something
percent, and it's currently at 35%. Meanwhile, there are
educated people who've worked hard all their lives going
homeless, and some of the wealthiest taxpayers are screaming
"Socialism" because they're furious they have to pay even that