WHY is middle class income going down, really?
It is not because union wages are on a downward trend. It is because the middle class has yet to figure out that “labor”, rather simple and uncomplicated labor is NOT the way to a middle class life in a flat world. Today one must do more the just punch a time clock. A middle class aspirant must PRODUCE something that really will sell. No they do not have to invent the computer, but they damn well must be ready to IMPROVE the computer that they make.
Otherwise, just go punch a time clock and see what happens to your wages over time.
Here is my reply:
I’m only going to address your comments about the middle class, which, to put it kindly, are utterly ridiculous.
Forgetting that folks who “just” punched a time clock (man, that really galls me that you have such a low opinion of people who made America the economic powerhouse it still it is today) saw their wages rise considerably after WWII, I want to say that whether right-wingers like you acknowledge it or not, folks who teach school, put out fires, make cars on an assembly line, deliver the mail, etc., are producing something. They are producers and there is inherent value in what they do.
But what is the value of their labor? That is partially determined by the dynamic between workers and management (and this part is my focus). If workers utilize the power of collectivizing their labor, of forming unions to bargain on their behalf, it changes that dynamic in a positive way for the workers. The result is higher wages than would have been if individuals bargained on their own (of course, most workers don’t bother to bargain at all).
Altering the dynamic between labor and management is what has been happening in, of all places, China (even apart from the Communist Party-controlled ACFTU). Guess what the business response was (and is) to the spontaneous strikes and demands for higher wages and working conditions in China? They have threatened to leave there and go elsewhere. Typical.
Finally, to claim that “a middle class aspirant must PRODUCE something that really will sell” is to guarantee that there will never be a strong and prosperous and inclusive middle class. There just aren’t that many folks out there who can create new or improve existing products sufficient to meet your criterion.
In fact, I can’t for a moment imagine the world you describe. What it would look like? Would the middle class comprise only folks who own small businesses? Huh? Would the middle class comprise only inventors? Huh? Would the middle class comprise only people who have to constantly tinker around in their garages to keep up with the Joneses?
You are condemning most of the people who exist in a nation’s real economy—teachers, cops, firefighters, auto workers, construction workers, postal workers, soldiers, etc., to a substandard existence as Americans. Your view is not only full of absurdities, it is pessimistic beyond words.
The people who teach our kids, police our streets, build our cars, deliver our mail, are not only producers, they are the spine of a nation.