Bread and butter
I'm all for shared sacrifice. As long as it's clear that we've already down our sacrificing:
ince the 1970s, Madrick shows, the US economy has grown more slowly than in the thirty-year period after the end of World War II, but also very likely more slowly than in any other period in the nation's history. For many years economists attributed this reduced growth to a difficult-to-explain slowdown in business productivity. But as Madrick points out, even after productivity growth returned in the mid-1990s, average wages—which had stagnated for twenty years—continued to stagnate. In fact, between 2001 and 2007, wages grew not at all, something unprecedented in any previous recorded business recovery.
In the second section of his book, Madrick points to a number of by now familiar changes that have occurred in the last three decades. The percentage of women in the workforce has grown dramatically. Manufacturing has declined precipitously; and health care costs have tripled as a share of GDP (and now exceed manufacturing's share). Consumer, business, and government debt have all soared. Household debt, for example, has risen from fifty cents per dollar of family income to $1.20 per dollar. The federal government's total debt over the same period doubled from a third to two thirds of GDP. At the same time, the social safety net, public and private, has deteriorated badly, not only for the poor but for the middle class and even parts of the upper-middle class. Pension savings are now largely the responsibility of individuals, health care premiums are rising much faster than the overall cost of living, higher education costs have soared, and mortgage payments have reached an all-time record, measured as a share of household income.
This is our due.