Saturday, February 11, 2012

White America Coming Apart?

Murray, center, is worried about "White America"
Charles Murray, the right-wing think-tanker most notorious for the "Bell Curve" thesis asserting racial differences in intelligence, has come out with a new book focused on the apparent decline of white people in the US: “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010."

Murray - true to form - blames liberal "elites" for what he interprets as moral disarray among the white working class. Most of this concern relates to declining labor force participation and declining rates of marriage among lower income white people.

Paul Krugman, reviewing Murray's case, suggests the real causes of increasing stress on working class individuals and families:
Most of the numbers you see about income trends in America focus on households rather than individuals, which makes sense for some purposes. But when you see a modest rise in incomes for the lower tiers of the income distribution, you have to realize that all — yes, all — of this rise comes from the women, both because more women are in the paid labor force and because women’s wages aren’t as much below male wages as they used to be.
"Those were the days..."
For lower-education working men, however, it has been all negative. Adjusted for inflation, entry-level wages of male high school graduates have fallen 23 percent since 1973. Meanwhile, employment benefits have collapsed. In 1980, 65 percent of recent high-school graduates working in the private sector had health benefits, but, by 2009, that was down to 29 percent.
So we have become a society in which less-educated men have great difficulty finding jobs with decent wages and good benefits. Yet somehow we’re supposed to be surprised that such men have become less likely to participate in the work force or get married, and conclude that there must have been some mysterious moral collapse caused by snooty liberals...