I'm sure those working in the health care industry would say things used to be better. Sure, technology has improved, but has patient care? As the population ages, beaurocracy grows. It used to be that if you were sick, you got in to see a doctor. Sick these days? By the time you get an appointment, whatever was wrong has either left you or killed you. Score one for "Back Then"
Education? My parents taught a combined 70 years, and even though they jumped at early retirement, they still look back fondly on the students they taught and have nothing but sympathy for those in what passes today for a public school system. If you want a room full of kids to not listen to you, start a family. Don't teach. "Back Then-2, Today-0"
Law Enforcement? A no brainer. I'm sure the crusty old cops would go on about how they were more respected "back then" and could get away with more stuff when it came to, you know, arresting a punk. Nowadays, everything's on some sort of camera, so if you twist a perp's arm you're staring down the barrel of a lawsuit. 3-0
I'm sure that if we went back to 1979 and asked those that worked the same gig in 1949 if things were better now or then, they'd probably say "then". Nostalgia always has a pretty strong hold on us. I look back kindly on my three years in Kingman, failing to remember how excited I was when the day came for me to move to Las Vegas. I'll sometimes remember nice things about an ex, selectively ignoring why she became an ex in the first place. Does all this mean that in 2039, I'll be looking back at 2009 as a wonderful time in my life? Hell, I can do that this morning. Still, if time is any indication, 30 years from now, I'll be looking back through rose-colored glasses on a time of continuing undiagnosed pain and construction defect lawsuits, cracked stucco and crowned teeth. Ah, those were the days.