In his May 23 blog entry Paul Krugman comments on the woes of truckers, at one time well paid middle level workers in America. Average incomes (adjusted for inflation) for truckers have fallen from about $32 an hour in 1975 to $21/hour in 1995 and have been stagnant since, (That’s less than $40,00/year.)
Krugman notes that many of the usual explanatioins for reduced worker pay, such as increased automation, do not apply here. He argues that the decline of unionization since the time of Reagan is the reason.
I’ve noted that denunciation of unions is the most common mantra of so-called conservatives, along with praise of low taxes for the rich. What bothers me is that unions seem to be losing favor with traditional Democratic supporters under the barrage of conservative propaganda. I didn’t see NJ Dems coming to the aid of the teacher unions underincessant criticism by Gov. Christie. And then we had the sorry spectacle of Democratic leaders sucking up to Christie in his re-election campaign. It makes me question the window label on the back of my car – “Proud Democrat.”
In an article in the current American Conservative – “What Obsessing About You-Know-Who Causes Us To Miss” – Andrew Bacevich notes that “responsible jounalism’s” preoccupatioin with correcting Trump’s lies and distortions has resulted in an obsession on that topic and a lack of coverage of issues of greater importance. And so he proceeds to note and discuss 24 significant national security issues that he feels get little press attention. It’s worth reading, and thinking about.
Here’s my version of one of them. Trump has announced that our military needs an increase in its annual budget of $54 Billion. (I note that this will include $111M each for 74 F-35 fighters, a new pentagon boondoggle that is not yet able to meet operational requirements.) I have seen no discussion of the need for this increase in the press, with the Democrats acting like the usual sheep they are on military budgets. Residents of New Jersey’s 11th congressional district will note that Rodney Frelinghuysen, while voting for the new Trumpcare monstrosity, for which he was condemned by the press, also used his influence to increase the current budget allocation to our Picatinny Arsenal. For this he was praised by the press, thus demonstrating why our military spending is never questioned.
Moreover, the last time (START-1) the Senate approve a treaty with the Russians to limit nuclear weapons, the Republicans in Congress held out for the ongoing trillion dollar modernization of our nuclear forces. The need for this has never been demonstrated, but the cost is comparable to the infrastructure rebuilding needs in the US. This, too, is always taken as a given and never discussed.