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Will widespread middle-class affluence ever return to the United States?

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According to the Education Trust, the US is the only industrialized country in which young people are less likely than their parents to graduate high school.


Since unemployment cannot begin to fall until payroll growth rises to at least one percent — and payroll growth will not hit one percent until GDP growth hits at least 2.5 percent to 3 percent — we may not see any substantive payroll growth until late 2010 or 2011, and unemployment could rise until that time.


We’ve already lost nearly 5.7 million jobs in this recession. Those losses have been overwhelmingly concentrated among male workers, especially among men under 35.


If the U.S. is to have any hope of getting its economic act together over the next few years, there will have to be a much greater focus on putting people back to work. Rebuilding the infrastructure is the place to start.


Interactive Map Shows Employment Vanishing Quickly Across the Country


A General Motors Bankruptcy (which appears ever more likely) Could "Devastate" the Entire U.S. Economy


(Ah, but from the point of view of the corporate elite, what's a little blood-letting when you have the golden opportunity to crush the labor movement once and for all?)


In 1948 George Kennan, one of the chief architects of post-war US foreign policy, famously stated the chief object of US policy in the post-war era:  "We have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. ... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment.  Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity.”  


US foreign policy during the last half of the 20th Century (and into the 21st) conforms closely to Kennan’s statement of that policy’s core object.  Kennan and his colleagues knew that the task of maintaining US control of, and access to, 50% of the world’s net worth would be neither easy nor permanent.


The 60s and 70s conditioned Americans to expect a standard of living which Kennan and the ruling class knew could not be maintained over the long haul.  They understood that US military dominance could only hope to delay the inevitable reckoning.


Kennan's brutal honesty was so scary and guilt-trippy that most Americans have always chosen to turn their head and ignore/forget it.  So this reckoning will come as a shock to many.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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