Whenever it was, the character of the American Republic irremediably changed, and for the inexpressably worse, on the first occasion that some Representative of the People arose in the Congress and presented her or himself as speaking in behalf of the "American consumer," instead of the "American citizen," and NOBODY arose to swat her/him down. It had to have been sometime in the '50s. It's been all down-hill since then.
We have been sooooo fucked for sooooo long that, I think, we've lost the capacity, as a people, to register on a conscious level, how truly fucked we are.
3 hours ago