Yahoo! is trying to be a little more edgy these days (you can't party like it's 1999 forever) but still I was surprised when I went to their homepage for main thing I still go there for -- the baseball scores -- and saw this was the main headline:
Why the middle class is radically shrinking
The U.S. is in serious danger of losing its once prosperous middle class.
The relatively short article seems to blame free trade (a pet peeve for some breeds of liberals) and over-regulation of small business (a mostly conservative bete noir) and the disparity between low-wage labor overseas and U.S. production costs (not really an ideological problem...nor one that anyone has proposed a feasible way to solve). It enumerates 22 signs of the apocalypse, including:
• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.
I don't want to speculate, but the impact of these conditions lasting for a few more years...can't be good. It's funny -- I have vague recollections from way back in grade school that it was believed that people might stop making things as early as the 21st Century (although it would because of robots, not Chinese people) but no one seemed to think it would be a problem -- that would we just be flying around with our jet packs and eating meals-in-a-pill and chasing our robot dogs on a treadmill.
People weren't supposed to be angry. Weird.