May 28, 2015
Progressive Policies Making United States A Poor Nation
The conditions that lifted North America so far above the economic norm were a unique combination: available land and resources, a smaller, pro-development government, disparate post Renaissance and mostly post Reformation immigrants that shattered traditional classes, and an industrial revolution supported with European capital. But as ever, time having passed, things are changed. Few of the listed conditions remain unaltered and America’s economic direction shows it.
The defining American middle class is devolving toward poverty. The 1970’s brought an undeniable economic retreat: the disappearance of the traditional middle class housewife into the workplace. A declining standard of living was heralded as a feminist triumph. The linked map illustrates the accelerated middle class economic decline since the 2008 financial crash; today, 20% of American families include no workers and most Americans receive government benefits.
[. . .]
Politicians who promise free goodies and painless cures for sad economies can’t afford stagnant ones; they require published recovery, preferably quickly. So government and its client media tell us we are recovering. They point to the currently 5.4% unemployment rate as evidence. They don’t mention that the rate isn’t computed as it once was. The older computation remains available at shadowstats.com, where U–3 Unemployment surpasses 20%. A different useful government statistic is the Labor Force Participation Rate, the percentage of the available workforce that is working. That has (quietly) declined to late 1970’s levels; there is no real recovery. Stocks and real estate have been inflated by the Federal Reserve’s flood of funny money while the middle class, largely dependent upon wages, has declined.
Using reality and disregarding propaganda, we see progressing American impoverishment reflecting general government policy. “Progressive” economic policies have amounted to promising a free lunch, for which the bill has arrived. Government/union cronies can force wages up; government can circumvent markets with legislated wages/prices and regulatory distortions, but none can repeal the ultimate operations of economics that simply reflect human behavior. America’s economically excessive labor costs are in unadmitted, forced decline to meet world competition.
May 27, 2015
Impoverishment: America's New Normal
By Jack Curtis