Remember yesterday, when I said I’d see you today with Friday links? Tough news, champ. The management at Combat! blog loves you very much, but someone bought our time today. You guys know you’re my favorites. But you pay me very little. I must conform my life to those endeavors likely to sustain it, and talking that mess on the old yakbox, as blogging is called, sustains little. It’s probably because my dad isn’t a wealthy blogger, either. The whole blog-based American economy is rigged—a maze with no exit, designed to keep us in roughly the same place we started. If you don’t believe me, ask the Washington Post.
They’re one of several outlets to cite a study of how many Americans have earned more than their parents, from 1940 to the present day. I’ll give you the good news first: we won World War II. The bad news is that since then, the percentage of adults who make more than their parents has declined—sharply. While 92% of children born in 1940 wound up earning more than their parents, only 46% of adults born in 1990 do. If you’ve been born since then, and your version of the American Dream involves buying anything, you have half the chance your grandparents did.
Maybe that’s because there’s been no economic growth since the 1970s—even when you adjust income for taxes and transfers, or tax-funded benefits—for half of American households. Spoiler alert: It’s the bottom half. But half! That’s astonishing. Even as it doubled in size, the economy managed to do nothing for half of us, for the last 40 years. That’s from your boy Thomas Piketty, that dude Emmanuel Saez, and some new jack named Gabriel Zucman who was probably in charge of writing everything down.
Anyway, there’s quantitative proof that we live in a less just society. Or maybe it’s just a more efficient one. How that looks probably depends on where you sit. If I had to estimate it, I’d say there’s about a 50 percent chance of you coming down on either side. What a time to be alive.