You see, we don't believe in "trickle down" economic reform here - trying to fix the people on the top so they stop ripping off the people down the chain. That would be nice to do, of course, but it has been my experience that the people on top have more money than I do, and thus control all the levers of the system - or at least most of them. Waiting for "top down" change is pointless. You'll wait a long time - the rest of your life, in fact.
The economy tanked and the first Black President was elected, and he tried to clean up the mess he was handed by creating new fiduciary rules for banks and lending institutions as well as forming a new consumer protection agency. The ruled helped, somewhat, but people were still free to make shitty bargains and sign crappy deals. And the people with money argued that these rules "slowed growth" of the economy.
This ideal of a bygone America was really only a phase we went through. Whether we can repeat that era is hard to say - and it will be harder to say whether we could sustain such an economic situation any better than we did back then - it fell apart back then because of high costs and competition - not to mention the high cost of energy.
So what is the answer? Do we re-regulate businesses so they have to offer better deals? Do we enact trade tariffs so jobs will come back to America? The problem with these "top-down" approaches is that they are hard to enact, as there is so much entrenched opposition to them, and they largely won't work.
The secret isn't to pine for the good old days and get your unskilled labor job back - that likely isn't going to happen, ever. A better idea is to find a skill that is in demand today, because today, unskilled labor jobs are never going to pay much, ever, no matter what Donald Trump says. Oh, yea, and the fact that the Republican Congress is highly unlikely to enact tariffs.
No one "took your money away" if you never had any. Bad choices are usually what makes a person poor, or poorer, and unhappy. And it starts early in life, with bad life choices. Choosing to hang out with a gang, instead of getting an education is a one-way ticket to incarceration. It is a choice a lot of folks in the inner city - or even suburbs or the country - make, though. They fail to think about the fact that there are no old gang members, or the fact that most gang members are as poor as dirt and live with their mothers.
Just a thought.