Monday, August 4, 2008

Women, Overwork, Borrowing

The linked article describes these are the three coping mechanisms that were used by American workers over the last 30 years - the wife entering the workplace, working more hours, and borrowing (credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans, etc.)

The author's prescription for improving the health of the economy are as follows:

The only way to keep the economy going over the long run is to increase the real earnings of middle-class and lower-middle-class Americans. The answer is not to protect jobs through trade protection -- that would only drive up the prices of everything purchased from abroad. Most routine jobs are being automated anyway. Nor is the answer to give tax breaks to the very wealthy and to giant corporations in the hope they will trickle down to everyone else. We've tried that, and it hasn't worked. Nothing has trickled down.

Rather, the long-term answer is for us to invest in the productivity of our working people -- enabling families to afford health insurance and have access to good schools and higher education -- while also rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in the clean energy technologies of the future. We must also adopt progressive taxes at the federal, state and local levels. In other words, we must rebuild the American economy from the bottom up. It cannot be rebuilt from the top down.

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