I chose this as a convenient reflection of U.S. interest rates in general. I remember 1981; I had finished all my postgraduate studies and was working full time, had paid off my car and had a modest-rent apartment. I had savings every month which could be easily invested in CDs yielding over 10%.
It's a different world now. The recent economic turmoil has focused attention on unemployment and how that is affecting the young and middle-aged workforce. But there is a large segment of older, retired people who are facing economic difficulties of a different kind. When one hears of retirees living on "fixed incomes," that income may be an unchanging defined dollar amount from a pension, but more often the term refers to income from savings instruments such as bonds, CDs, annuties, and mutual funds. Those rates are now at all-time lows, and as various items mature and need to be rolled over, the replacement instruments may have rates of 1% or lower.
If an elderly person planned his/her retirement years on the historically-reasonable basis of 4-5% yield on savings, and now faces a yield of 1-2%, that represents a 50-80% drop in income and a decision to change a lifestyle or to consume the savings. There are a lot of people out there who are silently suffering.