The point is...MY ticket [and your's NO doubt]... indicates a little knowledge and experience.
Yes, license requirements have changed dramatically over time. I have a theory about how all this change came to be.
In the early days of radio, it became clear that there needed to be Licensing. The Titanic disaster played a big role; radio regulatory legislation that was back-burnered suddenly got lots of attention and became law soon after the ship sank.
Next year will mark 100 years of mandatory Amateur Radio licensing in the USA.
Licensing of radio in the USA took two main forms: licensing of transmitting stations and licensing of operators for those stations.
Licensing of operators meant official recognition of the need for skilled, knowledgeable Radio Operators to adjust, repair, test and operate transmitting stations. In commercial radio, there were a variety of Radio Operator license types, classes and endorsements, all of which took some knowledge and skill to obtain. Each transmitting station had certain things that could only be done by a licensed Radio Operator. Radio Operators had to meet government standards, not just employer standards.
Ships over a certain size had to have a "Sparks", land stations of all kinds needed them on staff, and adjustment and repair of all sorts of radio sets could only be done by a Radio Operator with the appropriate license. The work could not be outsourced, exported or delegated; US Law required an FCC-licensed Radio Operator.
Thus there were created a considerable number of jobs that could only be done by a licensed Radio Operator. The jobs weren't all easy, and you had to know your stuff, but they were decent jobs that did not require a college degree. Part of this was due to unionization but a major cause was the license requirement; even without a union there was a relatively-limited number of folks who could do the jobs legally.
In fact, a Ph.D in EE counted for nothing in the world of Radio Operators unless the person also had a license. A First Class commercial license with endorsements could be a Golden Ticket to a decent career, protected from competition by unlicensed workers.
The "captains of industry" didn't like that setup, however. They saw the licensed Radio Operator as an added expense, and the license as a form of "government interference". They'd probably shout "SOCIALISM"! today.
So they sought to decrease the license requirements and the need for licensed workers. They sought to destroy the very concept of the licensed, skilled, knowledgeable Radio Operator.
They called it "deregulation" and "getting the government off your back" and "right to work", but what it really meant was "we don't want to pay". And they succeeded; commercial radio operator licensing in the USA is now much simpler, and the GROL is not the Golden Ticket that a First 'Phone once was.
With commercial licensing so drastically changed, how could amateur radio justify so many license classes and even semi-rigorous testing? So amateur licensing had to follow the trend, regardless of what amateurs wanted.
73 de Jim, N2EY