Is the United States becoming a two nations: One side with the wealth and the expectation of the so-called American Dream, and the other side with precarious employment, dispair, and everlasting debt? A web article (h/t naked capitalism blog) says yes.
Lynn Parramore, “America Is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People.” (Parramore is a Sr. Research Analyst with the Institute for New Economic Thinking.) Parramore describes an observation of a book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT. Temin stated–
The richest large economy in the world, says Temin, is coming to have an economic and political structure more like a developing nation. We have entered a phase of regression, and one of the easiest ways to see it is in our infrastructure: our roads and bridges look more like those in Thailand or Venezuela than the Netherlands or Japan. But it goes far deeper than that, which is why Temin uses a famous economic model created to understand developing nations to describe how far inequality has progressed in the United States. The model is the work of West Indian economist W. Arthur Lewis, the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in economics. For the first time, this model is applied with systematic precision to the U.S.
The result is profoundly disturbing.
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.
In the developing countries Lewis studied, people try to move from the low-wage sector to the affluent sector by transplanting from rural areas to the city to get a job. Occasionally it works; often it doesn’t. Temin says that today in the U.S., the ticket out is education, which is difficult for two reasons: you have to spend money over a long period of time, and the FTE sector is making those expenditures more and more costly by defunding public schools and making policies that increase student debt burdens.
Another eye-opening article was at Bloomberg, “A Quarter of Millennials who Live at Home Don’t Work–or Study
Key quote: According to the report, The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016—
Almost 9 in 10 young people who were living in their parents’ home a year ago are still living there today, making it the most stable living arrangement for young adults,” the report said. “In 2005, the majority of young people lived independently in their own household (either alone, with a spouse, or an unmarried partner), which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. By 2015—just a decade later—only six states had a majority of young people living independently.
Recall that the Great Recession was in 2008. And, in order to start a household, one needs a secure job and a sufficient wage to support this activity.
The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending April 15, 2017, is below.
H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received
||Nordea Bank AB (publ), Stockholm, Sweden — to establish a branch in New York, New York.
-Approved, April 12, 2017
||The Baraboo Bancorporation, Inc., Baraboo, Wisconsin — written agreement issued April 30, 2013, terminated April 7, 2017.
-Announced, April 11, 2017
Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)
The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for April 20, 2017, is below.
[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]
H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances
Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of April 19, 2017): $4,525,602 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).
(See the release for further information.)