Andrew Mellon served as secretary of the treasury. In that
position, he crafted policies that sharply reduced taxes
overall, but mainly for the rich.
These good times, however, had limits. Not every
American could indulge in the technological inven-
tions, with the electric iron being the one appliance
owned by a majority of people. At least 50 percent of
all farm and non-farm workers barely earned a subsis-
tence income, while the top 5 percent of Americans
received about 33 percent of the nation’s personal
income, revealing a disturbing disparity between the
haves and the have-nots. Unemployment remained
high throughout the 1920s, hovering between 7 and
12 percent of all non-farm workers.