Calvin Freiburger writes that while politicians squabble, the public is suffering under the weight of real problems they refuse to address.
Case in point: CBS News reports that according to CareerBuilder, a staggering 80% of the American workforce say they’re living paycheck to paycheck, a precarious situation that leaves them mired in debt, especially vulnerable to sudden expenses wreaking havoc with their lives, and less able to engage in spending that helps grow the economy.
While some may want to blame Americans’ spendthrift ways, Erwin pointed to two trends that continue to put financial stress on households: stagnant wages and the rising cost of everything from education to many consumer goods.
“Living paycheck to paycheck is the new way of life for U.S. workers,” [CareerBuilder spokesman Mike Erwin] said. “It’s not just one salary range. It’s pretty much across the board, and it’s trending in the wrong direction.”
A year ago, about 75 percent of U.S. workers said they were living from payday to payday, a number that has grown to 78 percent this year. The study, conducted by Harris Poll, surveyed nearly 2,400 hiring and human resource managers and 3,500 adult employees who worked full-time in May and June.
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting about 122 million full-time workers, the poll suggests 95 million of those adults could be living paycheck to paycheck. Through July, average hourly earnings were up 2.5 percent, according to labor data — that’s still below the 3 percent to 4 percent gains seen before the recession.
There are of course many variables that help or hinder prosperity, including varying state policies and the educational and career choices individuals make. But the undeniable truth is that for eight years, Barack Obama’s tax policies and regulations burdened most Americans further still. Did you know Obama was America’s only president who didn’t see 3% GDP growth in any of his eight years in office?
The answers to prosperity actually aren’t all that complicated. Let people keep as much of their own money as possible (tax reform), don’t make hiring people more expensive than the value of a job’s labor (which liberals do through Obamacare, minimum wage, and scores of other regulations), and reorient immigration to serve only the economic needs Americans can’t fulfill, rather than allow the importation of cheap labor for jobs millions of Americans would gladly do.
The Trump Administration’s rollback of various economic regulations will help, but there’s only so much that can be done via executive orders. We need Congressional leaders willing and able to actually force a conservative agenda to the president’s desk, who know how to beat back Democrat obstruction, aren’t afraid of leftist demagoguery, can force rogue liberal Republicans to live up to the obligations of their own party platform, and value the lives of the American people over arcane, meaningless political trappings like the filibuster.
If we do not find such leaders, then the Trump revolution may go down as the biggest wasted opportunity in American history. And American workers will continue to suffer.