(Washington Post) Long-term factors Weigh on Middle Class

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While he has addressed the issue throughout his presidency, [President] Obama began late last year to shower even more attention on the importance of lifting middle-class wages. In the days after his address to Congress, he traveled the country to make arguments in favor of new investments in manufacturing, energy and college affordability.

But it is not clear that the measures — or any others — could compensate for the factors behind the decline of the middle class, including the rise of nations with abundant cheap labor and the development of new technologies that allow companies to operate with far fewer workers. Nor is it clear that the bruised American economy of 2012, with a growing population of retiring workers to support, can sustain a prospering middle class.

“There has been an avalanche of developments that have played out in the last 30 years or so that make it a huge challenge to think about real increases in wages and therefore a sustained rise in incomes,” said Lane Kenworthy, a sociologist at the University of Arizona. “I think, in truth, a lot of people are at a loss for what exactly can be done.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

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Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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