Adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees–the bulk of the workforce–topped out in October 1972, according to the Labor Department. In today’s dollar, that weekly paycheck was the equivalent of about $811, compared with just under $703 a week last month.I was born in 1974. Older people's perspectives might be different but my entire life, growing up, being educated, coming to terms with how the world works, has all taken place within the context of long steady decay. For as long as I have been conscious of the world around me, the theme has been, "Things used to be getting better but now they are getting worse."
Nobody my age or younger has any tangible reason to expect differently. That worries me. Especially since my generation is getting to be the olds now. If this is everyone's perspective, it makes for a pessimistic, defeatist politics. And by that I mean a cynical politics where even the guys selling the "Hope" and "Change" actually are not selling those things at all and everyone knows it. Which, of course, is what we have. How do we pull out of such a cycle?