Saturday, May 13, 2017

Working Class Has the Blues, and Elites Lack Answers

When I tried to post this link on Facebook, it pulled in the usual stuff from the link, but when I tried to post, got the msg:
"URL Not Found
We had trouble using the URL you provided. Please try again later."

I tried several times, it never worked.

Not the first time this has happened. It so far only seems to happen on links that contain material that the power elite might not want posted. It doesn't happen often, so that might be a coincidence.

I was able to post a link from Bloomberg about the hospital hack, so it's not blocking stuff from this site, which is a respectable source.

I reported it to Facebook this time.

by Noah Smith
May 12, 201


Who are these working-class people who have been wronged by the system and aren’t going to take it anymore?

This is a crucial question, because it determines what policy responses might address general discontent. But, like the elite, the working class is devilishly difficult to define.


The easiest way of defining the working class is by income. Income inequality has increased substantially across the developed world, and in the U.S. more than most. One of the tools used to measure income inequality -- the Gini coefficient, which is higher when the distribution of income is less equal -- has risen quite a bit in the U.S. since the 1970s:


If we define working class as anyone in the lower regions of this increasingly unequal income distribution, it seems clear why they’d be angry. As recent research by economists Fatih Guvenen, Greg Kaplan, Jae Song, and Justin Weidner shows, lifetime income for most American men has been declining for decades; only by sending women into the formal labor force en masse have most American families managed to improve their material situation. Other research shows that economic mobility and opportunity are declining as well -- most Americans are making less than their parents did, and those in the lower ends of the distribution tend to be stuck there.

Rising inequality, stagnating income and reduced mobility seem like a toxic brew. And in the U.K., low income did indeed predict a vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union. But interestingly, the people suffering most from these trends in the U.S. don’t seem to be joining the supposedly populist revolt represented by Trump. Lower-income voters broke for Hillary Clinton in 2016, not Trump. More recent surveys also show that, all else equal, economic anxiety tended to push voters -- including white voters -- into the Clinton camp.

That suggests that there are other ways to think about class in the U.S. The most obvious alternative definition is education. Many polls and surveys find that the college/non-college distinction played a major role in determining who voted for Trump.


Meanwhile, economists have found that routine occupations are disappearing. If the working class is defined by the kind of work done, then the devastation of manufacturing jobs certainly seems like a reason for this group to be angry. What is the working class without work?


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