Is this a successful society?  Something we want to preserve?  “Nearly half of U.S. children now have at least one parent with a criminal record.” New Unemployment)

Net wealth of poor families went from around 0 to minus $15k (US CBO)

Matt Stoller:
“I have been in rooms where these economists laugh quietly about how their models don’t work and they are pretty much making shit up.”

In 2011, Fed Reserve bankers were mocking the unemployed and using anecdotal excuses from businessmen to set policy. Federal Reserve bankers Mocked the Unemployed

Many have seen three former Treasury Sec yukking it up together on youtube about how their policies increased economic disparity.

Is anyone connecting the dots between ACA Medicaid expansion and  opioid deaths?  Connecting the dots between Big Pharma abuses and elected Dems unable to say no to their donors. A $3.00 Medicaid card prescription gets you thousands of dollars worth of Perdue Pharma’s oxy. Ever see any Congressional hearings on that?

Our Miserable 21st Century
“The warning lights have been flashing, and the klaxons sounding, for more than a decade and a half…Now that those signals are no longer possible to ignore, it is high time for experts and intellectuals to reacquaint themselves with the country in which they live and to begin the task of describing what has befallen the country in which we have lived since the dawn of the new century.”

[This is a long read.  The first part deals with economic indicators.  But I want to talk about the grassroots situation.  I have excerpted way more than normally acceptable, but hope it will be allowable given how much ground he covers. There is a lot of additional material and links in original.]

“If 21st-century America’s GDP trends have been disappointing, labor-force trends have been utterly dismal. Work rates have fallen off a cliff since the year 2000 and are at their lowest levels in decades…the exodus out of the workforce has been the big labor-market [non-]story for America’s new century. (At this writing, for every unemployed American man between 25 and 55 years of age, there are another three who are neither working nor looking for work.) Thus the “unemployment rate” increasingly looks like an antique index devised for some earlier and increasingly distant war: the economic equivalent of a musket inventory or a cavalry count…If our nation’s work rate today were back up to its start-of-the-century highs, well over 10 million more Americans would currently have paying jobs.

In our era of no more than indifferent economic growth, …trends for paid hours of work look even worse than the work rates themselves. Between 2000 and 2015, according to the BEA, total paid hours of work in America increased by just 4 percent (as against a 35 percent increase for 1985-2000, the 15-year period immediately preceding this one). Over the 2000-2015 period, however, the adult civilian population rose by almost 18 percent–meaning that paid hours of work per adult civilian have plummeted by a shocking 12 percent thus far in our new American century.

So general economic conditions for many ordinary Americans–not least of these, Americans who did not fit within the academy’s designated victim classes–have been rather more insecure than those within the comfort of the bubble understood. But the anxiety, dissatisfaction, anger, and despair that range within our borders today are not wholly a reaction to the way our economy is misfiring. On the non-material front, it is likewise clear that many things in our society are going wrong and yet seem beyond our powers to correct.

Health has been deteriorating for a significant swath of white America in our new century, thanks in large part to drug and alcohol abuse. All this sounds a little too close for comfort to the story of [1990s] Russia, with its devastating vodka- and drug-binging health setbacks.

…the Human Mortality Database, an international consortium of demographers who vet national data to improve comparability between countries, has suggested that health progress in America essentially ceased in 2012–that the U.S. gained on average only about a single day of life expectancy at birth between 2012 and 2014, before the 2015 turndown.

The dimensions of the opioid epidemic in the real America are still not fully appreciated within the bubble, where drug use tends to be more carefully limited and recreational. …”in one three-month period” just a few years ago, according to the Ohio Department of Health, “fully 11 percent of all Ohioans were prescribed opiates.” Alan Krueger, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers: nearly half of all prime working-age male labor-force dropouts–an army now totaling roughly 7 million men–currently take pain medication on a daily basis. [That is where pharma abuses the state and federal taxpayers through Medicaid card reimbursement. And likely contributes to underground economy.]

…What share of prime-working-age men these days are enrolled in Medicaid? According to the Census Bureau’s SIPP survey (Survey of Income and Program Participation), as of 2013, over one-fifth (21 percent) of all civilian men between 25 and 55 years of age were Medicaid beneficiaries. For prime-age people not in the labor force, the share was over half (53 percent). And for non-Hispanic white men not in the labor force of prime working age, the share enrolled in Medicaid was 48 percent.

…Of the entire un-working prime-age male Anglo population in 2013, nearly three-fifths (57 percent) were reportedly collecting disability benefits from one or more government disability program in 2013.

One forthcoming demographic study…estimates that the cohort of current and former felons in America very nearly reached 20 million by the year 2010…A little more rough arithmetic suggests that about 17 million men in our general population have a felony conviction somewhere in their CV. That works out to one of every eight adult males in America today.

We have to use rough estimates here, rather than precise official numbers, because the government does not collect any data at all on the size or socioeconomic circumstances of this population of 20 million, and never has. Amazing as this may sound and scandalous though it may be, America has, at least to date, effectively banished this huge group–a group roughly twice the total size of our illegal-immigrant population and an adult population larger than that in any state but California–to a near-total and seemingly unending statistical invisibility. Our ex-cons are, so to speak, statistical outcasts who live in a darkness our polity does not care enough to illuminate–beyond the scope or interest of public policy, unless and until they next run afoul of the law.

Social mobility has always been the jewel in the crown of the American mythos and ethos.  …according to the Census Bureau, geographical mobility in America has been on the decline for three decades, and in 2016 the annual movement of households from one location to the next was reportedly at an all-time (postwar) low. …”labor market fluidity”–the churning between jobs that among other things allows people to get ahead–has been on the decline in the American labor market for decades, with no sign as yet of a turnaround. …the odds of a 30-year-old’s earning more than his parents at the same age [might be] now just 51 percent: down from 86 percent 40 years ago.
[Strata are solidifying.]

The funny thing is, people inside the bubble are forever talking about “economic inequality,” that wonderful seminar construct, and forever virtue-signaling about how personally opposed they are to it. By contrast, “economic insecurity” is akin to a phrase from an unknown language. But if we were somehow to find a “Google Translate” function for communicating from real America into the bubble, an important message might be conveyed:

The abstraction of “inequality” doesn’t matter a lot to ordinary Americans. The reality of economic insecurity does. The Great American Escalator is broken–and it badly needs to be fixed.

Our Miserable 21st Century (Commentary Magazine)

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