U.S. government and America’s Big (and now international) Business have been selling out the American middle class–with its enthusiastic support–for over 50 years. And the greedy suckers deserve it, though their children, who will suffer the most, do not.
A mix of collectivists, opportunists and bleeding hearts arose on the dislocations attending the American industrial revolution from about 1840, reinforced by the massive wreckage of the Civil War. They saw the throngs of needy, displaced people as ready votes: “What is this I see before me, handle toward my hand?” They promised, if they were voted into power, to cure the ‘unfair’ sufferings inflicted on the downtrodden by using the power of the federal government for good. They were the Progressives.
Americas’s wealth came out of individual freedom and among individuals, those who produce great wealth are always a small proportion of the masses. All the rest, lacking such wealth themselves, are always easily incited to envy by unscrupulous politicians. (Is there any other sort?) If the freedom persists, the wealth does percolate down, enriching those masses proportionately to their numbers–eventually. But is’s easy for politicians to convince them that it is owed to them, now. Thus, individual freedom always comes under attack as it produces wealth.
The successful businesses buy politicians to protect them from having to compete; the labor unions buy politicians to protect them from having to compete with non-union labor. The three become parasites on wealth production, which is slowed, bloated and becomes unable to compete with the rest of an industrializing world. A minimum wage law maintaining an income level sufficient to support an adult family member bars competition with India or China and now that the world has internationalized, that is the market, like it or not. A recent article: Skilled Work Without the Worker capsules the inevitable result of such interventions by government; replacing people with–expensive–machines. That’s a large investment; once it starts, those jobs are gone forever or at least, while the machines last. Any leftover people can go flip burgers and so can their kids, with their dumbed-down college degrees that represent less value than high school diplomas once did.
That’s sad to watch and worse to watch from up close; it’s like watching a sinking ship from the top deck. It’s worse yet when the captain is ordering the crew to open the sea-cocks and let the water into the hull as U.S. government is doing by restricting economic production via regulations and energy policies that raise costs and limit energy. All the policies that supported the original production of wealth are reversed; so, unsurprisingly, is that wealth production. And the middle class, ultimately the greatest beneficiary of the earlier policies has enthusiastically joined in the reversal, bribed with government goodies that have to be paid for with its money–money it refuse to see has run out.
That’s not the ‘fair’ promised by politicians, but that’s the kind of ‘fair’ reality actually delivers… and we get to watch.