The most telling illustration of the decline of Americans’ work life may be that drawn by economists John Schmitt and Janelle Jones of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. They calculated the share of good jobs Americans held in 1979 and in 2010. If only because workers in 2010 were, on average, seven years older and more educated than their 1979 counterparts, they should have been doing better. The two economists devised three indices of a good job: that it paid at least the 1979 male median wage ($37,000 in 2010 dollars), provided health benefits, and came with a 401(k) or pension. By those standards, 27.4 percent of American workers had good jobs in 1979. Three decades later, that figure had dropped to 24.6 percent.
The 40-Year Slump ☀
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Shortly before the Republican National Convention gathered last year to nominate a man who could have become one of the richest presidents in U.S. history, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey on American attitudes toward the wealthy. The chronic ambivalence was there: Forty-three percent of respondents said rich people are more likely than the average American to be intelligent, and 42 percent believed that the rich worked harder than everyone else. The good rich! But 55 percent said wealthy people were more likely to be greedy, and 34 percent thought they were less likely to be honest. The bad rich.
The deal with rich people ☀
Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican ☀
Not only is the daughter effect statistically significant, it’s substantively large. They found that overall, “compared to those with no daughters, parents with all daughters are 14% less likely to identify as a Democrat….[and] 11% more likely to identify as a Republican than parents with no daughters,” they write in the journal Sociological Forum.
The Suburbs Are the New Swing States ☀
American politics turn on a now familiar set of categories: red states vs. blue states, rich states vs. poor states, Frostbelt vs. Sunbelt. But these generalizations mask deeper, less visible fissures in our political geography.
We have written a great deal about the role of density in metropolitan voting patterns, highlighting the remarkably consistent and robust political red-to-blue tipping point that occurs when a metro reaches a density of roughly 800 residents per square mile. I took a deeper look at our emerging political geography in a recent feature for Politico magazine, where I argued that the suburbs have become the key turf in American politics today.
The older, denser suburbs outside our central cities have emerged as the major points of political cleavage in America, the places where Presidential elections are won or lost. “The key political fissure in American politics no longer runs across the country’s swing states,” I explained, “but zigzags through the rapidly growing ranks of what I call its ‘distress ‘burbs.’”
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
On Register’s Other Side, Little to Spend ☀
By a large majority, Americans support raising the minimum wage, according to a CBS News Poll done from Nov. 15 through 18. The poll, which surveyed 1,010 Americans, found that 69 percent of respondents approved of raising the minimum wage, while 25 percent opposed the idea.
Thirty-three percent said they backed raising the wage to $9 an hour, while 36 percent supported an increase to $10.10 an hour, the amount that Congressional Democrats are pushing.
Republicans support an increase by 57 percent to 38 percent, Democrats by 84 percent to 11 percent and independents by 64 percent to 29 percent.
America's Government Employment Belt ☀
At the end of the day, it is America’s red states that appear more heavily tied to the levels of federal employment than their blue state counterparts, setting up a fundamental irony about the locations of the most ardent “starve-the-beast” supporters of smaller government.
Infographic: whooping cough in the U.S. 1940-2012 ☀
A GNT creation ©2007–2013