The tag-line at the end of his columns begins: “Mike Walden is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University …” Wow! Quite a title, therefore, he should know well what he writes about.
In his Sept. 16 column, Professor Walden wrote: “Today’s average standard of living – measured by average household income adjusted by what dollars can buy — is 19 percent higher than in 1970, 16 percent better than in 1980, but two percent less compared to 2000.” Quite a decline, isn’t it? Walden wrote: “Since 2000, the standard of living of the richest 20 percent of households has increased slightly, but the standard of living of the poorest 20 percent is 11 percent lower.” Quite a difference, isn’t it? Professor Walden wrote: “The stock market has tripled in value since 2009, increasing the wealth of stock owners by $17 trillion.” Quite an increase, isn’t it?
Do you remember two decades ago when a very successful business man running for president told us that the North American Trade Agreement would create a “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving our nation? Do you remember America’s political leaders saying free trade with third-world countries would enhance their economies and ours?
What did those third-world countries have to trade, other than escape from U.S. workplace ecology and safety regulations, and cheap labor for American jobs? What do Distinguished Professor Walden’s figures prove, other than what we’ve always known — politically powerful economic manipulation makes “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”
Now doesn’t it?
Robert C. Currie Jr.