October 25 2013

The Endangered Middle Class

Charlotte Hays

Forbes magazine crunched the numbers and created this slide show to reveal the ten U.S. cities that are creating the most middle class jobs. No surprise, the first four cities are in Texas.

Not a single top job-creating city is in a blue state.

President Obama ran as the candidate of the middle class, as opposed to Mitt Romney, who has actually created jobs but who the president’s team succeeded in presenting as an unlikeable ogre. Indeed, many Democrats talk a good game on the middle class but then turn around and work to kill projects (e.g., the Keystone Pipeline XL) that would help more Americans get into the middle class, or, once in, remain there.

Joel Kotkin, author of the Forbes piece that accompanies the job cities slide show, points out that mid-skilled jobs (manufacturing, office, and construction) can pay a decent wage and provide a good standard of living. But roughly half of the new jobs created in the last few years are low-skilled jobs. About 29 percent are high-skilled jobs.

Kotkin writes:

The working class and  the endangered middle class may be favored topics of discussion in the deepest blue regions, but for the most part these metro areas have failed to bolster their middle-skilled labor forces. Los Angeles-Long Beach leads the league with the biggest net loss of mid-skilled jobs since 2007, down by 112,300, or 6.1%. Chicago had the second-largest numerical decline, some 102,100, or 7.6%, followed by New York, which lost 82,350 such jobs, 3.4% of its total in 2007. In contrast, notes economist Tyler Cowen, Texas has not only created the most middle-income jobs, but a remarkable one-third of all net high-wage jobs created over the past decade.

The loss of manufacturing jobs is clearly part of the problem here; despite the recent resurgence in the industrial sector, the U.S. still has 740,000 fewer middle-skill manufacturing jobs than in 2007. Chicago and Los Angeles remain the nation’s largest industrial regions, but they are also among the most rapidly de-industrializing areas in the country. New York City, once among the world’s leading industrial centers, with roughly a million manufacturing workers in 1950, is down to around 75,000. In contrast, industrial employment has been expanding in the Houston, Seattle and Oklahoma City metro areas, and recently even Detroit. …

If we fail to stem the erosion of middle-income jobs, we will be faced with a continued descent into a Latin American style society divided largely between an affluent elite and multitudes of the poor, with a thin layer in the middle. This promises miserable consequences for most Americans and the future of our democracy.

As noted up top, the job-creating cities are in red states, where taxes are lower and there is less regulation. In other words, it's the non-Obama states that are providing work and a way to have a middle class life.

It is amazing that President Obama got by with being the candidate of the middle class when the policies he advocates are so harmful to that very class. If you want to see how heart-breaking a bad economy can be, read my colleague Patrice Lee’s piece on homeless kids. It is the terrible economy that has made these kids homeless.

Isn’t it about time that conservatives start to talk about the heartlessness of the left?

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus