Not Moving Up  

January 5, 2012

Recently, an appeared in the New York Times about several studies which indicated that Americans may be less mobile economically than those living in other developed countries.  Of course, there was no mention of free trade laws as a factor.

This is not complicated. Of course there is less opportunity for economic advancement today than there was in the 1950s and 1960s. And this lack of opportunity is especially true for the less educated who aspire to participate in the American Dream.

We are living in an era of economic decline, which is being propped up by massive borrowing and federal deficit spending of $1.3 trillion annually.  Obviously, we cannot continue running trillion dollar annual deficits forever.  And even with all this economic stimulus in the form of massive deficit spending, we are only getting a meager GDP growth rate of 1-3 percent annually.

But, if we stop this deficit spending, we could have our GDP decrease by 3-7 percent, depending upon where the budget cuts were made to balance to budget.  And this is not even allowing for the possible “multiplier effect,” which says that we get more than one dollar in GDP growth for each dollar of deficit stimulus spending.

Real economic opportunity for all Americans once existed when someone could get a good job at a factory producing goods for our economy. This allowed even those without a high school degree to participate in the American Dream, and live a comfortable middle-class life. American workers were the envy of the world.

But, our politicians have deregulated our trade laws, and the big corporations have moved our factories to China and other low-wage countries. The American workers have been abandoned and the American Dream has been destroyed, especially for those born into the lower income levels.

Our once-great industrial heartland has become the “rust belt.” Our cities are left with abandoned factories and people trying to get by, with no real hope for a better future. And this “rust belt” is now spreading to the rest of our country.

For millions of young American workers, the thought of doing better than their parents economically is no longer being entertained.  Actually, for millions of Americans, just trying to equal the prosperity of thier parents has become unattainable.

But, do our politicians hear the desperate cries of the struggling American people? No, the politicians only hear the lobbyists and the big corporations who are prospering by using cheap foreign labor.

(Link to the article, “Harder to Rise from the Lower Rungs“)

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