In response to:

The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power

Pistol Wrote: Jan 09, 2013 7:47 AM
No discussion of the American middle class should neglect to mention the rare circumstances following WW II. For about 20 years, America's competition was in rubble. Our positive balance of payments was through the roof. Unskilled factory workers joined the middle class, as unions performed their legitimate function of ensuring that employees had negotiating power to get a large share of the profits. Countries like Sweden and Switzerland who were in basically the same situation, also profited hugely. But this temporary situation ended as Germany and Japan re-built, and the green revolution freed up farmers in India and China to work in factories.
Pistol Wrote: Jan 09, 2013 7:53 AM
As our competition came on line, the unions maintained veto control over our smokestack industries and soon priced them out of business with our re-born competition. No matter, the computer revolution was taking place and we led the charge. But the days when screwing a nut onto a bolt put you into the middle class were over. Now the American middle class is re-sized to basically include again its historical occupants. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, upper management of large firms and small business owners. You would like to be middle class? Successfully join the above professions.
FletchforFreedom Wrote: Jan 09, 2013 8:46 AM
Sorry, Pistol, I must vehemently disagree. Setting aside the rise of the middle class more than a century earlier (entirely without any benefits of any kind from unions), the increase in the middle class attributed to unions/government/etc. remains a fiction (along with WWII economic strength - rationing anyone?). The spike in the size of the middle class (and overall prosperity) corresponded with the slashing of taxes, government payrolls and spending in 1946 (and as government grew again these things subsided resulting in two recessions during the 50s).

FletchforFreedom Wrote: Jan 09, 2013 8:51 AM
Countries like Sweden benefited from a hugely market driven economy and the benefits of not having expended their treasure on warfare (and then promptly entered relative economic stagnation by adopting socialism - the Scandinavian "miracle" is pure mythology). Countries that were more unionized grew more slowly (as they had for more than a centiry) there NEVER having been an absence of negotiating power on the part of the workers (another long debunked myth).

Post WWII prosperity, like pre-WWII prosperity (and every year before or since) was not due to unions or blowing up the competition or government intervention, but due to the greater adoption of basic universal free market principles that governments and unions invariably...

Last week I wrote about the crisis of unemployment in Europe. I received a great deal of feedback, with Europeans agreeing that this is the core problem and Americans arguing that the United States has the same problem, asserting that U.S. unemployment is twice as high as the government's official unemployment rate. My counterargument is that unemployment in the United States is not a problem in the same sense that it is in Europe because it does not pose a geopolitical threat. The United States does not face political disintegration from unemployment, whatever the number is. Europe might.

At the same time, I would agree...