Today Bob Herbert correctly points out the underlying problem facing this country. It’s not that Americans want too much, though we are tremendous consumers. It’s that we aren’t paid enough. How have Americans kept up over the past four decades? First, women went into the job market. What were single income families became two income families. The right tries to make this a sexist issue: those crazy feminists, but it is fundamentally a fairness and economic issue.
Women should be allowed to work and paid equally because it is fair and the right thing to do. Women should be allowed into the work force because it is the right thing to do. But, the massive upsurge in female employment since the ’60’s wasn’t only, or even primarily generated by equal rights; but by economics. As prices increased and male wages stagnated, families made up the difference with a second income.
That kept the family going for a while, but by the 1990’s that wasn’t enough. How to pay rent, tuition, etc? Borrowing.
Now the right-wing myth (and it is a myth like the welfare queen is a myth) is that Americans are weak and are wasting their money on fast cars and other crap. Not so.
So what do we do? Raise incomes.