Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tough All Over

A campus tour of the University of Arizona in Tucson this week convinced me middle-class Americans' quality of life and ambitions are unprecedented in history. I felt like I'd sailed to New Atlantis.

So as I read No Recovery, Gallup's bleak analysis of America's future, I wonder whether economic statistics distort a rosy reality.

But I doubt they do.

According to the report, America is heading into a long night of deprivation, at least for the majority.

Gallup points the finger at two causes:
  • Lack of innovation (breakthrough inventions—like the movie projector, airplane and computer—that spawn entire new industries and high-wage jobs); and
  • Protectionist policies (barriers—imposed by special interest groups—that raise the cost and lower the quality of products produced by old industries like construction, medicine and education).
Protectionism is especially harmful, Gallup says, because prosperity dips when costs rise faster than quality. And protectionism is in full swing—with no sign of abating.

POSTSCRIPT: Americans' income-growth per capita today is half what it was in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, according to No Recovery. That's better than no growth, but not much, when you consider the inflationary costs of housing, healthcare and education. My takeaway from the analysis: downsize; don't get sick; and save for college.
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