It started in many ways far earlier than the '80s. The political counter movement to the New Deal began immediately, back in the '30s. The “intellectual” counter movement began with Ayn Rand, von Mises and Hayak. The economic counter movement began to change the direction of our society and community in 1973, due in part, I’m guessing, to Detente and the opening of China – as fear of labor going radical disappeared.
When I was at the U of Wisconsin in the '60s, my tuition was $112.00 a semester. Fees were another $18.00. Books usually came to around $50.00 a semester, for an annual total of about $300.00. I could earn that in a month at a summer job at one of the local factories/fabricators in town. My freshman year was tuition-free due to a legislative scholarship. I paid only for books and fees. Many my high school classmates got the same deal. All that began to disappear in the '70s. In Wisconsin, the end came with GOP ascension to legislative control and Tommy Thompson as governor. Tuition climbed; scholarships disappeared.
The local economy dwindled as “free trade” sent jobs overseas. Almost all of the factories and fabs, most of the companies, themselves, are gone. Jobs no longer reward workers for their contribution to their employers’ profitability.
None of this was an accident nor natural nor divine intervention. It was policy – crude, rude and socially far too acceptable at the time. But not any more.