I cannot by any calculus whatsoever determine that the economy is good under Trump or Obama or anyone else as far back as 1960. At least during the 1940’s and 50’s we had an economy that was moving toward excellence, but the declining state of our national economy since then has been one of the most tragic phenomena in our history.

There has never been a rational set of criteria developed by which we could actually evaluate the economy in human terms. The failed measure of GDP growth considers only the size of the economy and the size of the annual growth. The only acceptable indicators of the excellence of the economy consist of how equitably the GDP is distributed and the degree to which real wages provide a rising standard of living for most Americans.

Last year, the Congressional Research Service published the following summary from their report: “Real wages rose at the top of the distribution, whereas wages stagnated or fell at the middle and bottom” from 1979 to 2018, thus indicating that there was no improvement in the standard of living for nearly all of the American population. This dystopian pattern of economic distribution is accelerating rather than slowing down.

There is a major disparity between the less educated part of the workforce and those with higher education yet our government continues to resist extending no-cost higher education to the American people. We now must increase that to include the educational demands of the technical world now emerging. We must also ensure that the GDP is distributed far more evenly than is now the case.

We must therefore not only distribute GDP better but must also stop the runaway population growth and decarbonize the global economy before one or more feedback loops in the carbon cycle turns non-linear and we can thereafter do nothing.

Ron Zimmerman,

Scottsdale

(5) comments

Russ_in_WML

Ron is just another liberal with a severe case of TDS.

Trump Derangement Syndrome

Truth is, the economy is flourishing under Trump.

johndoe

Oh Comrade Ron is at it again. If he had his way we would enact laws limiting the amount of kids we can have and eliminate all fossil fuel. Hey Ron I have a great way to reduce the population, mandatory "sacrifice" for all those over the age of 40, like in Logan's run. Or how about mandatory sterilization of those who are not genetically perfect? Keep your opinions in Scottsdale Comrade Zimm , we have enough crazy up here already.

ppetersen55

No one can "give" you an education; you must reach out to grasp the brass ring. I know from personal experience that if you want an education bad enough, there are opportunities, programs, assistance, etc. out there. BUT, you must also go to class every day, pay attention, do your homework, and submit it on time. You cannot sit in your bedroom, perusing social media and playing games, and whining about how those who are willing to sacrifice have success, while you don't.

ronzim

Readers will take note of the fact that neither Russ nor johndoe offer any factual rebuttal to the information I posted. Russ’s notion of a great economy is the one that I have described because, of course, it is the American economy today. Moreover, not only are the structural flaws I have outlined quite deeply entrenched, there are other problems which come into play. To begin with, American productivity has been in steady decline for decades and continues its slide as I write. Without significant growth in productivity, the economy cannot experience real growth. It is true that the nominal marker for labour productivity is still positive, but the increases have resulted in more and more American workers being relieved from jobs by technological advances and taking up an increasing number of jobs performing services for those who reaped the benefits of whatever growth took place. Bear in mind that service work contributes virtually nothing to value added. In addition, our population is aging rapidly and losing productive capability as large numbers of the skilled elderly leave the force entirely.

In addition, we are devoting geometrically increasing resources to respond to global warming at the very time when that phenomenon is itself diminishing productivity. Our insufficiently progressive tax system also harms productivity be increasing the inequalities of income and wealth. The declining efficacy of the minimum wage relative to productivity also augers ill for improvement. Another barrier against productivity growth is the steadily declining state of American education vis-à-vis our competitors. The same problem occurs with the abysmal state of our national infrastructure.

We are also incurring massive costs in the matter of our outmoded criminal justice system and the concomitant expenses arising from sentencing and incarceration policies from the seventh century. There are also strong headwinds arising from our regulatory system which encourages monopoly growth and freedom from pollution responsibilities. There is another a price to be paid for our failure to raise federal revenues to achieve a balanced budget.

Johndoe’s remarks continue to reveal his inability to deal with the facts on the ground. Presently, if each person on the planet were to live at the average standard of living of the American middle class, the resource base required would be over six planets Earth. This results in massive overdrafts of the actual resource base, a form of stealing from the future, which cannot be sustained much longer. Second, I never suggested that family size be set by any government. The enforcement mechanisms are too cumbersome and costly. The necessary brake on population growth must come from global reproductive education; free, universal contraception and training on how to use it most effectively; and free health clinics which provide consultation and abortion services as a last result.

As for elimination fossil fuel, it is imperative that we decarbonize the global economy very quickly if we are to avoid environmental consequences of the worst sort. There is, of course, no ethical foundation for shortening anyone’s life for this purpose; however, free, universal, physician-assisted suicide must be the norm for civilized nations. After all, in the final analysis, it is my body and not the state’s to do with as it pleases. I oppose mandatory sterilizations for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, we should offer strong incentives (cash bonuses, tax breaks, low interest loans) for those who voluntarily choose sterilization.

ronzim

ppeterson55: Your dog-in-the-manger mind-set is noted. After all, why should those of us who have clawed our way up out of poverty and ignorance now pay to support a better life for our children and subsequent progeny. At the end of the civil war, the average educational achievement for American youngsters was just over six years. High school and above were only for the wealthy elite. Just a smattering of states provided public high school education. That general level, provided in public schools, was sufficient to meet the economic imperatives of a mostly agrarian nation; however, the educational demands of the first industrial revolution soon rendered that level insufficient in the competitive world of commerce.

Wisely, we began to increase the number of public high schools until public high school education was universal and the economic impact was excellent. We are now faced with a similar situation in that a high school education is no longer adequate for America to compete in a technological economy and global markets. Just as we wisely increased public education through 12 years, we now must further increase that level to 16 years in most cases, but more in those fields where even higher education is necessary for us to compete.

In addition to competition, there is another equally compelling reason for us to further increase public education: An educated polity is a presumed necessity for the protection of democracy and the liberties it confers.

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