Previous generations didn't have the choice. The US Government was funded by tariffs and duties. This was done back when the federal government wanted to save US jobs. The most recent one that comes to my mind was the tariff on wool. Any wool or wool product that was imported had a tariff slapped on it. Then the money collected went to somehow subsidize sheep farmers, so they could afford to raise sheep. The price of wool stayed low, the price of meat stayed low, but the farmer could stay in business.True, the majority of people today buy cheap over quality when it comes to disposable goods.
Previous generations by and large did not do that.
It took a generation or so for everyone to follow along.
A couple hundred years ago, the English Empire had a plan to keep their subjects poor and make Britain wealthy. Simple plan. England imported raw materials and exported finished goods. Today, we know that as "value added". It didn't take long for the Colonies to see that if they sold their raw materials and bought just finished goods, they were like slaves. We took on the World's largest army to get out of that lopsided plan. Somehow, unlike the Colonies around the world, we were able to break free.
Sad that in just a few decades, we have managed to give that all away, to China. As an example, every tree in the US, west of the Continental Divide, is, at some point owned by a Chinese company. Logs leave the US to return as furniture.