There is a ‘secret shame’ of middle-class Americans’ and it’s not diminishing!
The effects are wide-ranging. High costs are preventing workers from moving to high-productivity cities, thus smothering the country’s economic vibrancy and putting a drag on its GDP; economists have estimated that GDP would be as much as 10 percent bigger if more workers could afford to live in places like San ]ose and Boston. High costs are forcing families to delay getting married and to have fewer children, and putting the dream of owning a home out of reach. [A mere four companies have account-ed for the stock market’s profits so far this year.]
What is perhaps most frustrating is that the Great Affordability Crisis is amenable to policy solutions — ones most other rich countries adopted decades ago. In other developed economies, child care, early education, and higher education are public goods, and do not require high-interest-rate debts or end-less scrambling by exhausted young parents to procure. Other wealthy countries have public-health systems that cover every-body at far lower cost, whether through socialized or private models. And numerous proposals would transform residential construction in this country, including one that just failed in California’s legislature.
But the Great Aﬂordability Crisis hides in plain sight, obvious to households but unmentioned in the country’s headline economic numbers. It persists even as President Donald Trump rightly praises the country’s growth, low unemployment rate, and rising household incomes. And though there are many nationwide policies that could end the crisis, they all seem unlikely to pass through the country’s broken Congress; the brightest glimmer of hope lies in housing and health-care policy by individual states. But it is still a dim glimmer. This crisis looks sure to stay with us for the coming decade, what-ever recessions or expansions it may hold.
“Where are we today?” I know where I am. 😉
February 15, 2019
“All bridges can be crossed, so do not give up!”
Played bridge at the community centre this morning with my mom!
Busy weekend ahead… Getting my tax info ready for my accountant over this weekend. Caryl and I go for dinner with Bill and Chris to celebrate the “girl’s birthdays”… of course Monday is ‘Family Day’, so we have a 3_day weekend. Lots to do… got to run… 😉
“It’s agreed. You won’t mess with us and Harry won’t unleash himself on the world.”