Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The How and Why of the Now and Then


Although I am no economist, just a former blue-collar working stiff,  I have a pretty good idea what has caused the wage stagnation during the past 3 or 4 decades, because I had been a middle-class member of the workforce before, during, and after those years.

As a pre-boomer (1942 was less than a bumper crop), I started working full-time in 1959 as a printer's devil in a unionized typesetting shop (btw--the only kind that then mattered.)

 By 1969, I  was armed with a New York City public high school education, and was a certified journeyman member of my trade union. 

Within 4 years, at the age of 31, I bought the house in which I still live.  I got married, had two kids, and two cars.

My wife didn't work outside the home until our kids were in high school. During my fifty years of working, we never earned more than $46,000 in one year.

So, what has brought about the changes that are causing the younger generations from reaching their financial goals? Why has it become so hard for them to achieve the American Dream that they have heard so much about?

Since I saw it develop, that is, the formula for creating the incredible wealth gap and inequality that now exists, I suppose I ought to mention it.

I witnessed the exponential world-population growth, the amazing computer speed-memory-availability-usage growth, and the tremendous increase in the amount of women entering the workforce (at lower wages than their male counterparts). Now, if you'll take this formula's results and add to it the technological advances in the science of capitalism, the subtle refinement of the art of consumer-marketing, and the utter conquest of materialism over flower-power (remember Industrialism's victory over Agrarianism? Urban over Rural?) and you have the makings of a serious case for planning for the future the next time around.

I think our children are at least 'entitled' to know what has happened to their future, don't you?

And one more thing: Don't forget to vote.

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