In 1974, the United States was reeling from Watergate and the Vietnam War and stuck in a vexing recession. Inflation was out of control and President Gerald Ford was struggling to get control of the country and its economy. A collectible from those days is a "WIN" button, which stood for "Whip Inflation Now" — a promotional device that the desperate Ford administration ginned up.
At the time, I was fresh out of college, living in Peoria, Ill., and working as an urban planner. One distinct memory I have was passing the downtown office of Peoria Savings with a sign on the window that read "No Home Loans."