The U.S. job market hasn't changed much since the 1990s as far as adding jobs compared to how many people have grown up and needed jobs. And I think I read today that the real income (adjusted for inflation) of the average American has dropped about 7% during the last decade.
But if you look at how we actually got here it is easier to see it in terms of the Western World (U.S. Canada and Europe and various other places) as being like a surburb or a bedroom community of the rest of the world and to see Countries like China and other lower wage producing nations as like "Factory nations". If you look at what happened in this way then it makes more sense.
As jobs moved overseas to "Factory nations" where wages were lower, whole areas and cities in the U.S. went into decline as the main "Breadwinner" companies of different areas closed over the last 20 to 30 years. Then you have to add in Wars since the 1960s like the Viet Nam War, The War on Terrorism since the 1970s, Desert Storm(which was mostly financially paid for by Kuwait's rulers in the end) and then the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq basically bankrupted the U.S. Government except for the capacity of the Fed to (keep printing money) (without anything like gold or silver actually backing up the dollar). So, in some ways it is paper representing only the Gross National Product of the U.S.
Then there is the 1 trillion dollars spent in Iraq (or more?) and the ongoing 2 billion dollars a week that the war in Afghanistan costs the U.S.
After the war in Viet Nam I personally expected the U.S. government to go bankrupt then but other nations stepped in and bailed out the U.S. and lent us money so we didn't go bankrupt in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Instead we eventually had the Savings and Loan debacle when many AMericans lost all their life savings and committed suicide especially if they were over 50 years of age at the time and had no hope of ever retiring.
However, after one of the most financially sucessful 10 years I can remember from about 1990 to 2000 or 2001 the nation sort of went off an emotional cliff that has brought us here to (basic Bankruptcy) as a nation with 50% of the population in poverty or low income at present. So, what can the future bring?
We still as a nation are 2nd only to Russia in natural resources and have not become so senior in demographics that providing for seniors becomes as big a problem as it is for Japan and many european countries or like it will also cause problems in China because of only allowing one child per family since the 1970s or so. So, in regard to younger workers we still have a very vibrant economical future.
The biggest obstacle that I can see right now to that future is education. Though many people are trying to save public schools I personally see that like "kicking a dead horse". Education has to go now in completely new directions in order to stay competitive worldwide. I think emphasizing Charter Schools, private schools and home schooling and internet learning centers is how we can remain competitive and increase our competitiveness once again as a nation.
Our colleges and universities are 2nd to none and still are and I think that is where we should start. Offer free student loans to kids who will teach in low income areas for 2 to 4 years when they get out of college. In this way they could get enough money to live on as teachers and you might get some of the brightest kids to teach younger kids for a couple of years. Imagine having Big Bang TV show kids teaching little kids for a couple of years and how many new scientists you would get from that inspiration alone. By instituting a program like this of free student loans for teaching 2 to 4 years after Graduating from College I believe we could educate more of the brightest in college and give all our kids a better chance at a future in this increasingly global and competitive world.
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