Edward Luce wrote a brilliant book about India: In Spite of the Gods: the Strange Rise of Modern India. Now, he is the U.S. correspondent for the Financial Times of London. Luce recently wrote an article about the crisis of Middle Class America, that celebrated but endangered species. He focuses on the plight of those households making $70,000 (people in the top 1/3 of income). He shows how much stress they are under and how this has been going on since 1973. One subject’s mother was a high school drop out and made more money as an iron miner (inflation-adjusted income was $40 per hour) than her $17 an hour salary.
He even drops the “L-word”: Latin America. America might become a vastly unequal and polarized society like our brothers and sisters south of the Rio Grande. It may not be the worst thing in the world; it just wouldn’t be “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” America everyone dreams about.
As my redneck barber said, “Yeah, Mexico got a lot of rich people. It’s got a lot of poor people too. What makes America great is the middle class. And we have to thank the UNIONS for that.” Until people recognize the fundamentals and the causes, we’ll always be distracted by the latest manufactured outrage of the week. Less on mosques, more on median incomes.
Financial Times – “The Crisis of the Middle Class“