The Great Inequality Debate
Our Proletarian Middle Class
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  • Boritz

    We can encourage the growth of high-wage, blue-collar
    industries such as construction, energy and manufacturing. –Kotkin

    Didn’t we spend upwards of a trillion dollars five years ago on this?
    Construction = shovel ready jobs
    Energy and manufacturing = Solyndra

    It isn’t that the basic idea is wrong. It’s that we are too corrupt and immoral to administer it in a way honest enough to make it work. Wisconsin is an exception but they are damned for their efforts.

    • rheddles

      No, the trillion dollars was spent on keeping union employees in state and local government employed and paying union dues that could be recycled into Donk campaign coffers. There were no shovel ready jobs and the energy supported by the administration was for payoffs.

      Kotkin is thinking of real construction, both real estate and infrastructure. He’s from Caliphornia, so he knows what lousy roads and boondoggle bullet trains look like. In energy, he’s talking about fracking not unicorns.

      Kotkin sees the Blue Model defects pretty clearly, see his opinions about dense urban planning vs. suburbia.

  • Gary Hemminger

    This is not going to happen no matter how much it makes sense. The environmentalists hold sway throughout the US (and especially here in California). there will be no growth in blue collar jobs as long as the environmentalists run the ship.

  • brad lena

    The comparison between the industrial revolution and the present is of marginal use. The chasm between virtually every aspect of human endeavor then and now is too vast. The elites of every generation are clueless and when harnessed to their malevolence the results are catastrophic.

  • qet

    Has Via Meadia forgotten that it routinely rejects the idea of a return to a blue collar, manufacturing-based economy, that it trumpets the future as one belonging to service entrepreneurs? And really, an article, whether by Kotkin or by Via Meadia, that says that we “can” do thus-and-such when it is perfectly clear that, politically, we can’t, is just unworthy of serious consideration. Like Via Meadia, I have no doubts that the human race will not only endure, but prevail; but I am not too keen on our near-term prospects.

  • stevewfromford

    There is a simple solution to falling incomes among the working class. The feds should ban the use of excavators and bull dozers and mandate the employment of an army of shovelers at high wages on any federally financed construction project. A man with a shovel and a full belly is a satisfied voter!

    • John Stephens

      I recall reading that the Roman Emperor Hadrian prohibited the use of labor-saving devices, on the grounds that it would cause unemployment. The more things change…

  • Anthony

    See Richard Reeves for related material (1% v. 99? No, It’s Affluent, ‘Squeezed’, Impoverished) at Real Clear Markets.

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