Real Workers – Not Women or Immigrants

Sorry Rosie, but you're not a real American
Sorry Rosie, but you’re not a real American

In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is an op-ed discussing the myth of the stagnating middle class. The argument is, while middle class incomes have not risen in 50 years (in real dollars), are middle class folk like you and me better off today than we were 50 years ago? The answer to this question is incredibly difficult to answer, and depending what you think a high quality life is, then it could easily go either way. For instance, if your goal is to graduate high school, get a job that can support a family and buy a house, then no – you are probably not part of the middle class that is better off today versus the middle class 50 years ago. However if your goal was to go to college, marry a career driven person, and combined work 100 hours a week to pay off a house you can’t really afford – then yes, you probably are way better off.

That’s my shallow analysis. For an even shallower analysis, lets quote the article:

{..} the average hourly wage is held down by the great increase of women and immigrants into the workforce over the past three decades. Precisely because the U.S. economy was flexible and strong, it created millions of jobs for the influx of many often lesser-skilled workers who sought employment during these years.

Since almost all lesser-skilled workers entering the workforce in any given year are paid wages lower than the average, the measured statistic, “average hourly wage,” remained stagnant over the years—even while the real wages of actual flesh-and-blood workers employed in any given year rose over time as they gained more experience and skills.

If I am reading that right, then the authors here are insinuating that an increase in lower-wage jobs are hurting the middle-class income argument by lowering the average hourly wage. But if there is an increase in lower wage jobs, doesn’t that mean there is a decrease in higher paying jobs? Probably. So what the authors here would define as middle class is simply different on how other economists would define as middle class. All in all, it’s a pretty weak argument because it fails to mention two very big pieces of the big picture, health care costs and housing costs (SPOILER ALERT: they’re way higher today!)

Now onto more important matters from the op-ed, specifically the quote above where they are also insinuating that woman and immigrants are not “actual flesh and blood workers” – glad I’m not a woman or immigrant. So to all you white males out there looking to put your wives in place, be sure to show them a copy of the Wall Street Journal next time you get into a fight over the legitimacy of how hard you do/don’t work at your real job. Be sure to mention that it is your flesh and blood that is creating a stronger middle class for the real America, and isn’t being American what it is all about?