Tag Archives: wages by generation

The Trump Economy: Great Again?

As far as I’m concerned, The Donald was elected President in 2016 for one reason.  At a time when President Obama and Senator Clinton claimed everything was fine, because the economy was recovering in a cyclical sense, and because things have (for the most part) remained fine for college and graduate-school educated people who were born in 1957 or earlier (59 years old or older at the time, 63 or older today).  Trump was willing to acknowledge that for less well educated Americans, and even for better educated people who were born later, things have significantly become worse over the long term.  And that the U.S. as a whole is getting poorer, deeper in debt, more dependent on subsidies from the rest of the world.  He didn’t really understand why, or have a real idea what to do about it, but he at least pretended to care about what those inside the affluent bi-coastal bubble were indifferent to.   When later-born generations saw that no one was really speaking to, or caring about, their situation and concerns, they stayed home.  Meanwhile working class Whites, and some working class Blacks and Hispanics, took a chance on Trump, just as Michael Moore predicted.

Trump’s best line?  “What have you got to lose?”  

Now it is four years later, and The Donald is singing a different tune. Things are Great Again! he says, and all because of him, and if it wasn’t for bad luck – a once in a century pandemic – he would have been re-elected easily.  As of last December some people seemed to buy it.

But is this true?  We would be having an election about nothing, absent COVID-19, but now we are having an election about almost nothing.  Just Generation Greed’s culture wars, which are mostly about sex, rather than the extent to which the future and those who will be living in it are screwed.  But I couldn’t let Trump’s assertions go unanswered.  He was, in this case, right the first time, and what he said the first time in 2016 was still true in 2019, before the pandemic even hit.

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Retirement Benefits Are to White Collar Crime and Generational Inequity What Handguns Are to Street Crime

Red State, Blue State, Democrats, Republicans, anti-tax advocates, public unions, public sector, private sector, federal, state and local and even in Europe.  Retirement and old age benefits are promises about the far off future, allowing any and all to use them as a tool to rip people off and make a getaway before the heist is discovered.  At the state and local government level, all over the U.S., one finds the generations now retired or about to retire promised themselves far more than they had been willing to pay for, leading to crises of various kinds. But always there is the assumption that the older generations that created the problem and benefitted from it can’t participate in sacrifices needed to prevent disaster.

The first response is always the union-friendly choice to drastically cut the pay and benefits of new hires, in order to offset the soaring cost of benefits for those cashing in and moving out.  Screwing the millennials as part of the “screw the newbie, flee to Florida” cycle that goes on and on.  “If you don’t like it, don’t take the job; take some other job that also pays 25 percent less than the Baby Boomers were paid for the same work,” as Federal Reserve Bank of New York research has shown.


But when that isn’t enough, the next proposal is a “pension freeze.” Middle-aged workers, now mostly the last of the Boomers in those in Generation X, get to keep the pension benefits they have earned so far, but are not allowed to accrue any new benefits at the rate they were promised.  They are allowed to contribute to a 401K instead.  “If you don’t like it, quit and take another job for 15 or 20 percent less than most Boomers and members of the Silent Generation were paid, if someone will hire you.”

That’s fair, isn’t it?  No it is not!

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