In 'Great Expectations', Charles Dickens wrote: "Annual income 20 pounds, annual expenses twenty pounds and sixpence, result misery" (or words to that effect).
In the 1960's, the US undertook an orgy of spending on the Great Society and the Cold War (including the Vietnam War and Space Race). At the same time, the typical middle-class American lived an extravagant lifestyle, relatively speaking. This was all fueled by cheap American oil, gas and coal.
By 1973, we had used so much that OPEC had us over a barrel, and by 1975 we had our first large trade deficits, which have grown every year.
Since about 1980, not much has come out of our industry that the rest of the world seems to want to buy.
Did we go broke 30 years ago, and are just now noticing it?