"They’ve waited more than a decade in Downey. They’ve tried all the usual tricks to bring good-paying jobs back to the 77-acre plot of dirt where once stood a factory that made moon landers and, later, space shuttles. Nothing brought back the good jobs.
Those jobs aren’t coming back. Not at the old North American Rockwell plant, and not in thousands of similarly socked towns.
Yes, the stock market is soaring, the unemployment rate is finally retreating after the Great Recession and the economy added 321,000 jobs last month. But all that growth has done nothing to boost pay for the typical American worker. Average wages haven’t risen over the last year, after adjusting for inflation. Real household median income is still lower than it was when the recession ended.
Make no mistake: The American middle class is in trouble.
That trouble started decades ago, well before the 2008 financial crisis, and it is rooted in shifts far more complicated than the simple tax-and-spend debates that dominate economic policymaking in Washington." Washpost
IMO we Americans wrecked our own Middle Class (whatever that really may be) We did things like this:
- By embracing Free Trade as an unequivocal good we shipped a lot of our manufacturing base abroad. I agree with Adam Smith that Free Trade is a good thing if it benefits the polity of which one is a member. There is a principal in economcs called "competitive advantage." In a Free Trade situation China has a great competitive advantage over the US in terms of labor costs and a lack of quality regulation in manufacturing. Embrace of NAFTA and similar arrangements has produced what Ross Perot predicted would be a "great sucking sound" as jobs left the USA for parts abroad where competitive advantage would result in wonderful profits for people like me who are invested in the equity markets.
- The US government has wasted vast amounts of money, often borrowed, on wars abroad that were completely unncesessary. The enemies we fought were real enemies and they needed to be fought, but they could have been fought with counter-terrorism methodologies; commandos, police, intelligence, diplomacy. It was not necessary to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and then try to transform the countries. The money drained off into such wars was lost to the general American econmy and siphoned into private hands both overseas and in the US. This kind of loss of circulating capital is generally detrimental to the level of enterprise and taxes paid in a country. A loss of revenue in government leads to reductions in discretionary expenditures in things like the space program. Think Downey.
-The cost of higher education has been allowed to escalate to levels at which people who were in the Middle Class or had a chance to be in the Middle Class face choices between beggaring themselves in an attempt to educate their children or seeing their children carry burdens of crippling debt for much of their lives. None of that promotes prosperity.
"We have met the enemy and it is us." pl