Yes says Dr. Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, author of the book ‘The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy.’
So if Dr. Temin is right, how do we reverse our decline? Dr. Temin has ideas for us there as well. Jim
“America divided – this concept increasingly graces political discourse in the U.S., pitting left against right, conservative thought against the liberal agenda. But for decades, Americans have been rearranging along another divide, one just as stark if not far more significant – a chasm once bridged by a flourishing middle class…
“In his new book, ‘The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy,’ Temin paints a bleak picture where one country has a bounty of resources and power, and the other toils day after day with minimal access to the long-coveted American dream.
“In his view, the United States is shifting toward an economic and political makeup more similar to developing nations than the wealthy, economically stable nation it has long been…
“Temin applied W. Arthur Lewis’s economic model – designed to understand the workings of developing countries – to the United States in an effort to document how inequality has grown in America.
“The parallels are unsettling. As noted by the Institute for New Economic Thinking:
‘In the Lewis model of a dual economy, much of the low-wage sector has little influence over public policy. Check. The high-income sector will keep wages down in the other sector to provide cheap labor for its businesses. Check. Social control is used to keep the low-wage sector from challenging the policies favored by the high-income sector. Mass incarceration – check. The primary goal of the richest members of the high-income sector is to lower taxes. Check. Social and economic mobility is low. Check’…
“The antidote, as prescribed by Temin, is likely a tough sell in today’s political climate.
“Expanding education, updating infrastructure, forgiving mortgage and student loan debt, and overall working to boost social mobility for all Americans are bound to be seen as too liberal by many policy makers.”