In Eisenhower's day, the very wealthy paid 91% in taxes. CEOs averaged an income 34% more than their average worker. One wage earner could raise a family, buy a house, raise children and send them to college. Mom could stay home, provide care for her children, and help the kids with homework.
In the 80s, Reagan ushered in the era of globalization - the new economic religion - replacing Keynesianism. Corporations became free floating, free agents, loosed from the ties of country. Corporate gigantism began. De-regulation began. The social bonds of corporate America were cut. They no longer owed any allegiance to the local community of workers (Flint, Michigan, for instance). Junk bonds, penny stocks, buying up the competition, the "Greed is good" era. Taxes plummeted for the rich. Offshore shelters became the norm. Outsourcing and corporate "slimming" started. Corporate taxes dropped to the point that now, 67% of corporations are able to bypass taxes completely. Two incomes were "required" to raise a family. College started moving out of reach. Homes moved out of reach for the average worker. CEO salaries now average 1000% more than their average worker. For those wealthy individuals who actually pay taxes (remember the offshore shelters) the percentage hangs around 30%.
The playing field has shifted, all right.