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Do we want higher wages for middle class?

Asked similar question a while ago. Now asking, do we as a society WANT higher wages for the middle class?

If not, why not.


How about lower taxes instead? It's not like our overlords in Washington really need those extra mansions and private jets.


The middle and working classes are paying higher taxes since the 1970s because the rich arranged their own taxes to be lowered.

Raise rich people's taxes to pre-1970s levels. Let them pay their fair share.


If taxes are too high then rich people will stop investing there money back into the economy. Why risk wealth in a project, if it doesn't work out you lose your capital and if it does work out the government gets all the profits. You take all the risk and the government gets all the rewards. Might aswell just waste all your cash on hookers and cocaine if investing it doesn't make sense cause of taxes. There is a point when you milk the cow too dry and it stops producing milk...





Nothing will work until the Welfare State has been abolished.


Better trade policy, better immigration policy, are absolute goods in their own right. Make work a viable path forward for men.


i want Jeremy Piven to be a leading man again


if they're getting high wages because they're more productive, or because demand for labour has increased due to economic growth, then yes.

i think a lot of the policies that have become almost endemic, not just in america, have stymied the conditions that would create those things.

for eg:

- far too much regulation of jobs in things like minimum education requirements, licensing requirements.
- zoning & all kinds of regulations that tamp down building of new housing, making it more & more expensive. that keeps people from moving to high productivity areas.

plus we're retreating from free trade policies, making products more expensive for consumers & giving them less choice. & this makes industries less productive & innovative, & causes economic stagnation.

personally i don't worry about middle class people in the us & canada very much. they have the best lives anyone's ever lived. but i definitely think there are lots of things we could do to improve things for them if we made gov't controls less onerous.


Wages are one of hte primary factors of standard of living.

What is the goal(s) of national policy if not to protect and serve the interests of the people?


i agree - but we've seen wages increase in the last 3 years and many of those people are no better off or worse off because they're increasing due to inflation.

if someone's wages relatively stagnate but technology & trade let them consume more for the same amount of money, then they're better off.

so higher wages isolated are not necessarily good if they're a result of inflation, loose monetary policy, etc.

see this article for an example. it's often stated that male middle class wages have stagnated since the 70s. i believe that's mainly true, but it's also very complicated & the interpretations are usually too simplistic.

but look at how much more those stagnant wages can buy in 2024 compared to 1970 or 80.

some good details here.

"In 1980, it took 54.17 hours of work to buy a coffee maker, toaster, blender, can opener, mixer, and food processor. In 2020, it took only 6.54 hours of work to buy the same set of appliances."


That story about hours of labor needed to buy the appliances in the 1980 Sears Catalogue is absolute bullshit. A toaster purchased in 1980 would last longer than 2 months...


well, i think that's a little too dismissive.

it's true that a lot of products we buy now get thrown out more quickly.

but that's often because they're so cheap that it makes more sense to throw them out & buy new ones rather than keep using them when they're failing a bit, or repair them.

the kitchen appliances are just one example - the first thing i found when i went there.

if you poke around the human progress site, you'll find many, many more examples.

or read tupy & pooly's great book 'superabundance.'

here's a more high-level example of the kinds of things they discuss.


in the appendix of this article there is a good summary of the change in 'time price' of common commodities.

the entire article is a good summary of the 'superabundance' book.


There's a LOT in that paper by the Cato Institute,does%20not%20receive%20government%20funding.

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Koch Industries.

Isn't land a commodity? How much more land are we producing?


yes, i think they're a great resource.

i linked directly to cato in that article. it's not like i was trying to hide that. they do great work.

they are indeed a libertarian think tank, & they produce papers that support all the things you'd expect them to.

regarding land: one of the nice surprises of the last 20-30 years is that we're actually using less land in north america, & have been returning marginal land back to nature, so to speak. andrew mcafee documents that in his book 'more from less.' i have to pretend to work right now & can't pull up his quotes or references, but i'll try to find it once i'm done for the day here.

there's a great interview with him here if you're interested.

here's a quote:

"That's true of materials. I mentioned earlier that we've returned a Washington-state-sized amount of farmland back to nature since the early 1980s. That's great for the planet; you know, 'Woohoo.' There were people farming that land. And now that land is not economically viable for farming any more. To me, that's a really clear example of this phenomenon that we see where, in some industries, we need fewer acres of land, fewer establishments, fewer physical places where the activity happens."


"in some industries, we need fewer acres of land"

Everyone wants more space. It's like cocaine, there's no diminishing marginal utility.

I was surprised to see several articles from Cato supporting expanded (and sometimes government/taxpayer subsidized) birth control.

I wasn't so surprised to see Cato is anti-abortion.

"Cato did not file an amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization because we believed—and continue to believe—that reasonable libertarians can disagree about whether the Constitution, properly understood, has anything to say about abortion"

I understand "libertarianism" to be a philosophy of ideas INDEPENDENT of any written laws, including the Constitution of the United States. But for Cato to say otherwise would defeat the purpose of its existence.


to say cato is anti-abortion is not accurate i'm pretty sure. not that i know the ins and outs of all their policies. i'm not that wonky.

edit - & i think it's important to say that cato is a think-tank that publishes arguments & i wouldn't expect every piece the publish to be considered adopted cato policy, etched in stone.

but just skimming the article you quoted, i think what they say seems to be somewhat consistent with what a lot of libertarians say...

"Libertarianism, in the most general sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the central political value. It is a broad concept without rigid boundaries, but those who embrace its tenets hold that people should be presumptively free to make choices about their own life and that what people do with their bodies and their property is up to them, provided only they do not cause harm to non‐​consenting parties. Thus, any claim of authority to infringe upon this domain of individual liberty—whether made by a government or a private party—necessarily requires strong justification.

From this perspective, it is hardly surprising that state regulation of abortion access is a grave concern for many libertarians. If bodily autonomy entails the right to decide, for example, what food to eat, whether to use drugs, and what medical treatments to accept or refuse, then it surely entails the right to reproductive liberty as well. There are few decisions more intimately personal than deciding whether to have a child, and few developments with greater consequence for one’s life and body than pregnancy and childbirth."

at a quick glance, i think this article is making the case against roe, which is not the same thing as being anti-abortion.

personally i think abortion supporters probably ought to be glad roe is gone. it will likely kill the issue in the us in a decade or so, with most states moving to the equilibrium position of 14-16 weeks.

lol, i really do have to work. i'm going to truly get busted one day over how much time i arse around online.


Productivity has been increasing. Demand for labor has been good, but that factor is not allowed to increase wages becasue we just import more supply CONSTANTLY.

Better trade policy and immigration policy can increase demand for labor and decrease supply. Would yo consider that a good policy outcome?


i think it's very, very complicated. certainly too complicated to take a zero-sum approach to labor or immigration. immigration adds to supply of labor, of course. but it also increases demand for many, many things, & it often increases demand in unpredictable ways that creates new kinds of economic flourishing.

it's trite to say these things are complicated,'s complicated!


Senate Candidate Barbara Lee thinks U.S. minimum wage should be $50/hr.


I would prefer creating market conditions to put the power more on the side of workers and thus encourage organic and healthy rise in wages, instead of a... ham fisted approach that seems likely to cause pain and disruption.


And what is your plan for creating/interfering with market conditions?


More aggressive trade policy, shut down immigration, and encourage more stay at home moms.


How do we "encourage" more stay at home moms?


Off the top of my head?

1. Stop celebrating working women. Start celebrating motherhood.

2. Defund all feminists studies in universities.

3. trade policy to bring back manufacturing jobs.

4. Cease anti-male discrmiantion in academics.

5. Policy to reduce housing costs.

6. Policy to increase wages.

for starters. Probably plenty more that could be done, once we get started.


How do you define "middle class?"