With millions out of work, complaints about the decline in middle-class wages may seem misplaced. But without some shoring up, the middle class will remain dispirited — and our economy, which is 70 percent dependent on consumer spending, will remain in the dumper.
It may be that there’s a role for government to play in buttressing these eroding wages, which result not only in a declining standard of living, but also in a family life so pressure-filled that it leads to its own problems: angry homes, fast-food diets, dependence on alcohol and drugs.
Calling for any sort of government role during these tea party times can raise charges of socialism. But the idea of a wage that supports some minimum standard of living — shelter, clothing, food — has been broached on and off for more than a century. (more…)