Thank you for your comment. Americans are perpetually ‘optimistic’ its part of the American Mythology. You offer threadbare, not to speak of ersatz metaphysics, in lieu of actual argument! Quantify ‘optimism’ ! How does this ‘optimism’ manifest itself in one’s weekly paycheck? At least two answers below.
Headline: Ludicrous Economic Numbers: 40% Of Americans Make Less Than The 1968 Minimum Wage
Occasionally, in the more politicised corners of the economic conversation, we come across numbers that create that double take, that looking into the fourth wall, of amazement. Not so much that someone could get the number itself wrong, but that they could put it forward with a straight face, could actually believe it themselves. And so it is with a discussion of how badly the American economy has been doing in recent decades over at Salon. Just anyone with any basic awareness of the general numbers would know that this is wrong.
The quote is here:
Since the late 1970s, labor productivity in the U.S. has risen 259 percent. If the fruits of that productivity had been distributed according to the post-World War II shared prosperity social contract the average person’s income would be more than double what it is today. The actual change?
Median income adjusted for inflation is lower today than it was in 1974. A staggering 40 percent of all Americans now make less than the 1968 minimum wage, adjusted for inflation. Median middle-class wealth is plummeting. It is now 36 percent below what it was in 2000.
To walk through the errors here. Sure, productivity has risen. And average wages haven’t risen as much (although there’s a fascinating little fight within that story, you only get this result if you use two different inflation measures, one to measure productivity, another to measure wages
Headline: For most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades
On the face of it, these should be heady times for American workers. U.S. unemployment is as low as it’s been in nearly two decades (3.9% as of July) and the nation’s private-sector employers have been adding jobs for 101 straight months – 19.5 million since the Great Recession-related cuts finally abated in early 2010, and 1.5 million just since the beginning of the year.
But despite the strong labor market, wage growth has lagged economists’ expectations. In fact, despite some ups and downs over the past several decades, today’s real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. And what wage gains there have been have mostly flowed to the highest-paid tier of workers.