13 January 2017   Leave a comment

Income inequality is difficult to appreciate since people very rarely associate with others who have widely discrepant incomes.  It is even more difficult to comprehend income inequality across generations.  An advocacy group, Young Invincibles, has gone through Federal Reserve Bank data to make intergenerational comparisons and the conclusions are striking.  The report presents the data that concludes: “Our analysis of income shows Millennials earn less not just because they are earlier in their career, but also because of an intergenerational decline in wages. As seen in Table 1.1, young adult workers today earn $10,000 less than young adults in 1989, a decline of 20 percent.”  The “American Dream” has always been based on the assumption that children will always have a higher quality of life than their parents.

Table 1.1 – Millennials Earn Less than Boomers

25-to-34 year-olds          1989           2013              Percent Change

All                                       $50,910     $40,581           -20%




China Times, usually regarded as representing the official point of view of the Beijing government, ran an editorial about the comments made by the nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, about US policy toward China’s claims in the South China Sea.  As posted earlier, Tillerson said: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”  The editorial’s language was strikingly bellicose:

“China has enough determination and strength to make sure that his rabble rousing will not succeed. Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish.

“The US has no absolute power to dominate the South China Sea. Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories.”

On this particular matter, there are some reasons to believe that the Global Times is actually just testing Mr. Trump and not reflecting actual policy.  It is hard to tell which interpretation is valid.

Ian Bremmer is the head of The Eurasia Group and a very astute and intelligent analyst.  He has written a short essay on how the 2016 US Presidential election has damaged American foreign policy.  Soft power is an important asset to any state and the US often served as an example of how a democratic state can persist.  The questions about some of the aspects of the 2016 election has raised serious doubts in the minds of some outside observers as to whether the US can continue to serve as that example.

Posted January 13, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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