RE: Lost Decade

In response from Reddit to my post about America not being in a lost decade:

It’s a pretty weak argument this guy makes. Some of his points are “We have uber, netflix and the large hadron collider now, so things are better!” also “Stock prices are soaring, so the economy must be doing great!”.
I think the best is the part that is completely missing, a discussion of why some people DO see it as a lost decade. The central fact for that is 10 years without at least one year of >3% GDP growth, but people who study wages can also point out the fact that the nation just went a full decade without a raise. Nothing he discusses contradicts either of those points.

Yes, we’ve had ten years of less than 3% GDP growth, but I’m putting it into perspective….that it’s not as bad as it seems on the surface, especially compared to the rest off the world when adjusted for inflation. Canada, an economic role model according to the left, is apparently in a recession:

Canadian gross domestic product unexpectedly fell 0.2% in May. This was worse than the 0.0% expected by economists.

“The economy has contracted in six out of the last seven months,” BNP’s Derek Lindsay noted.

The resource-rich economy has felt the crushing pain of falling commodity prices as global demand for raw materials has decelerated.

And relief doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.

Part of what makes the US economy so resistant is its export-driven technology and intellectual property sectors – companies like Google, Uber, Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix, for example. Compared to tech, which seems impervious to pretty much everything, commodities and mining is extremely volatile and macro-sensitive. But the same liberals who complain about the economy being weak also want to regulate America’s fastest growing companies…makes sense, huh? The tech sector is one the bright spots, and rather than celebrating this the left attacks Silicon Valley for supposed lack of diversity (Asian and Indian engineers don’t count as diversity, apparently) and wealth inequality.

As for the part about Americans going a decade without a raise, I’m sure he’s talking about real wages. Yes, it’s true that inflation adjusted wages have stagnated since about 1970:

But on the other hand, this seems to be negated by rising employee benefits:

Over the last 10 years, employer spending on inflation-adjusted wages and salaries has held steady, slipping slightly from $22.45 per hour in 2004 to $22.13 in 2014. But the hourly cost of benefits has gone up by nearly 9 percent. One big component of that is employer health insurance payments, which has increased from $2.30 to $2.75 per hour — a nearly 20-percent jump.

Also, if we’re going by wages, it would mean that America has been ‘lost’ since the 1970′s, which of course is absurd. That would mean the entire 80′s and 90′s period of economic growth and prosperity doesn’t count. This is an example of moving the goalposts and confirmation bias – choosing one or two data points that agrees with your original premise (that America is economically weak) and ignoring all the contravening data and evidence.

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