For many, laboriously dragging a push plow’s dull blade across the land has hardly scratched enough of a rut in the ground to plant a pitiful row of string beans. What’s more, any bean sprouts that broke through the stony earth were quickly strangled out by seasonal weeds. Those ‘green shoots’ that persisted bore pods that dried out on the vine before maturity.
This has been the common experience of the typical 21st century American worker, thus far. Countless, stories of labors with no fruits have been shared at bowling alleys across the Bible Belt. There are also hard numbers that backup these woeful tales.
Just this week, for example, Sentier Research released a new report showing that after scratching and clawing the earth day after day, median household income has finally surpassed a level last seen in January 2000. In other words, living standards for the typical family are now a smidge higher than they were at the turn of the century. Rick Newman offers several details:
“Sentier calculates a monthly index representing median household income, based on Census Bureau data, starting at 100 in January of 2000. Since it’s an index, it’s adjusted for inflation and represents the real earning power of a typical family. The index drifted slightly above 100 a few times leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown, but mostly went sideways during the George W. Bush administration. Then it plunged beginning in 2009, with a long recovery beginning in 2011.
“The latest reading in the Sentier index is 100.9, the first time it’s been above 100 since 2008. That number matches the previous high, from 2002, which means family income will hit a new high if it rises in May.”
Rip Van Winkle
Good grief. What took so darn long?
A lot has changed while the typical worker was running in place for the last decade and a half. In fact, Rip Van Winkle would hardly recognize the world that remains after these lost years. Good manners, good ethics, and good people have mostly gone the way of the dodo bird.
For one, politics at home has gone stark raving mad. Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Jim Comey. Barry Obama. Susan Rice. John Podesta. Hillary Clinton. Anthony Weiner. Barney Frank. John Burton. Harry Reid. Chuck Schumer. Ted Kennedy’s ghost. And on and on. And so on and so forth.
Years ago, when upright character was an expectation, these malevolent dingle berries would have been painted with tar and rolled in a dirty chicken coop full of feathers, among other things. Nowadays, they get extended lordship, pensions, and countless hours of paid vacation.
What to make of it?
The federal government – and many state and local governments – appear to be self-destructing in grand fashion. Federal agencies and politicians are stabbing each other and the President in the back at a clip last witnessed in Moscow during the twilight of the Soviet Union.
At the same time, the truth has become a liability. Specifically, sharing the dirty truth has become hazardous to one’s life expectancy. For the ruling class has become desperate to keep the world tilted in its favor. They’ll go to any length to keep money and power flowing towards them.
The Attack on Workers, Phase II
No doubt, President Trump’s a ghastly fellow. But he’s not nearly as ghastly as the headlines make him out to be. There are much worse haircuts out there. Plus he’s facing an unwinnable battle.
All of Congress wants Trump to fail and are doing everything they can to ensure this happens. Even his most partial efforts to redirect some of the failing social programs that are bankrupting the country are greeted with a disjointed and frenetic mass hysteria. Rational contemplation and pragmatic decision making has given way to foaming mouths and erratic neck convulsions.
Should we be surprised? Maybe this is the way things always were; only now they’ve been ratcheted up several notches. For instance, two generations ago Nixon era Treasury Secretary William Simon let the cat out of the bag:
“One of the things I learned during my tenure in Washington is that the civic book picture of government in operation is completely inaccurate. The idea that our elected officials take part in a careful decision-making process—monitoring events, reviewing options, responsibly selecting policies—has almost no connection with reality.
“A more accurate image would be that of a runaway train with the throttle stuck wide open—while the passengers and crew are living it up in the dining car.”
These days, however, the runaway train is one ridge turn from jumping the tracks. Alas, a stock market crash, depression, and world war will likely accompany it. After that the attack on worker begins in earnest.
for Economic Prism