Reprinted from The Economic Policy Institute by Josh Bivens on December 12, 2016.
“The election of Donald Trump alerted many to what should have been obvious long ago: the US economy has failed to deliver the goods to vast swathes of American families for decades,” writes Josh Bivens for The Economic Policy Institute. “In the context of Trump’s election, this economic failure was often characterized as being unique to white working-class voters in the upper Midwest. But this is wrong. Income growth has been sluggish, and hourly wage growth near-zero, for low and middle-income families across-the-board in recent decades. And many measures of racial income and wage gaps have actually worsened in recent years. In short, the income not going to white working-class residents of the upper Midwest has not been accruing to black and Latino workers; it’s instead just been funneled to the very top of the income distribution.
“It’s not just politically important to realize that the economy’s failure to deliver income growth is not just a niche problem of white working-class voters in former manufacturing regions. This realization should also tell us something important about the economics of how to fix this. Too many have jumped to the conclusion that there’s just not much we can do for those workers that have been left behind in recent decades, because their troubles are mostly driven by huge, untamable forces like technological change and globalization. Here’s the astute economics writer Adam Davidson on Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast:
“‘I know Hillary Clinton’s economic team fairly well, and I’m very impressed by them. They really are top-notch economists and economic policy thinkers. …