Bloomberg reports that using 2012 dollars as the base line, since 1972, data shows that men’s median income has fallen by 17%. But what about all the yammering we hear saying that incomes have been flat for years while the cost of living has increased? The writer answers that obvious question in advance:
You often hear of income having stayed “flat” for many years. On the household level, that’s true.
Both are correct. Men’s incomes have fallen and household incomes have gone flat. How so?
Women’s incomes have increased (a good thing), and many more women have entered the workforce. That’s made up for the drop in men’s incomes, and the median household income has risen a little since 1972.
A new corollary to the law of entropy. That thermodynamic law* says that systems, left alone will drift towards greater entropy, or, said another way, to less order or more chaos. In a social sense this thermodynamic concept can be seen at work in our society, generally. Where there are no external checks, we end up with social pathologies like crime and sexual perversions and divorce. Lacking the external check of the traditionally ordered family, and the external check of limitations on who can vote we’ve ended up with an entitlement based economy, including the entitlement I’ll call, You Go Girl.
There are exceptions, and they are well known, but its not a good thing, in an unequivocal sense, that women’s incomes have increased or that more and more women have entered the workforce. What the writer means by that is…..he doesn’t mean a damn thing actually, he is launching a countermeasure because he knows he is flying over territory that is known to have lots of missile batteries.
Take X number of jobs and grow that number yearly by some number. Having men be the predominant (not ONLY men, but mostly men) worker. Track unemployment and wages over the same period and see one result.
Now, at some point along the period of study, introduce a massive number of potential workers seeking employment. More workers, same number of jobs, not rocket science. Higher unemployment and lower wages. It gets worse. Because there could not be enough jobs materialize out of thin air right when all these new workers wanted them the rally cry went up….UNFAIR! Discrimination against women is blocking the workforce. We need quotas and day care and family leave and flex time and well we really need good paying jobs for women’s studies graduates. (My wife is in a Bachelor of Nursing program, a fellow student she met is 30, has 3 degrees already-one in women’s studies-and still lives in campus housing…cool!)
In the early 70’s, the beginning of the study period, no-fault divorce laws swept the nation. Women, therefore, with the cry of discrimination scaring employers into hiring, really did not need a man any longer. Employers quickly figured out they could hire women for lower wages. They added jobs that were traditionally held by women, government, always leading the charge, hired armies of female administrators especially in areas like education and HUD. Wages for men were pressed down, similar to the way unchecked immigration would do if we allowed it.
Then women started figuring out that they could claim they were underpaid compared to men. The metric for the studies failed to include extraneous factors like limited schedules and flexible hours, not to mention maternity leave and school holidays etc. But once again they cried DISCRIMINATION! And the government sprang into action with things like The Lilly Ledbetter law. The recession hit, and it hit who? Men. To the point it was called the “mancession”. It made news because the word was cute enough to be newsworthy. We stimulated the economy, which meant school districts were handed billions to preserve the jobs of female administrators. Then the recession was over.
And here we are. The graph in the article shows that men’s wages have plunged 17%. But its a good thing that more women are working, and that women are making the same as men. Its a good thing that more kids are latch key and more families are breaking up. And its a very good thing that the governor’s election in Virgina was decided based on who was demonstrably more pro-woman (because he was for women getting free contraception while the opponent was for women being denied all forms of contraception, you know) and its super good that as we approach another election cycle, the candidates that are for women’s rights will again have an edge. All good. All more entropic. Qualitative proof of my posited corollary.
*This is my paraphrase and is only for the purposes of this post, I’m well aware of the thermodynamic laws and what they actually say, please don’t be pedantic about it