What the Future Holds for the American Middle Class

Writing for Los Angeles Times, Doyle McManus describes a thesis put forth in a new book titled “Average Is Over,” by an “economist”, named Tyler Cowen, who teaches “economics” at Virginia’s George Mason University. In it, Mr. Cowen “predicts” that Americans’ real wages will continue to go down, jobs lost during the last big recession, also known as the Great Recession, won’t be coming back, inequality between rich and poor will increase, the middle class will disappear and a new underclass will be created. I, for one, am a believer in Mr. Cowen’s ability to predict. He’s the type of person who predicts rain when it’s already pouring cats and dogs! Fortunately, Mr. Doyle is alert enough to point out that that’s how things are now. Good catch!

But, Mr. Cowen doesn’t just predict the obvious. He goes on to say that inequality isn’t a bad thing. I agree: inequality only looks bad from one side of the equation! He reminds me of an abusive spouse who insists there is nothing wrong with his marriage! Inequality will increase and that’s OK, he says: “I don’t think we know the causal relationship between inequality and happiness,” he tells Mr. Doyle during an interview. Those at the bottom “might even be happier in a middle-classless future”. And, once again, Mr. Doyle “corrects” him by saying: “The American dream isn’t only of success for a few high achievers; it’s about an economy that supports a healthy middle class and opportunity for the striving poor”.

I find it rather amusing to hear someone still talk about “the American dream”! Makes you wonder if he’s a fool or he thinks we are. He correctly points out that Mr. Cowen’s prediction is already a reality and then laments that it’s not “the American Dream”! It’s like listening to a fully grown man complain that Santa Claus didn’t bring him a nice gift, this year!

He ends his piece for LA Times with: “New ideas, anyone?” Well, for starters, how about pointing out the source and cause of the growing inequality and the creation of a poor underclass? Or is that off limits to our economics professors and LA Times writers? Is the situation which keeps getting worse for working people not related to the fact that the class of wealthy capitalists has usurped all the political power out of the hands of the wage earners, has busted the vast majority of labor unions and pretty much owns the politicians and in fact the entire government, which it uses to its advantage to make itself even richer at the expense of workers? So, I ask again: Are they really dumb or do they think we are?


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