Yes, globalization, immigration, and wage stagnation are all factors, not to mention the cultural issues. But there is another culprit: inadequate savings. This, by the way, helps explain why so much of the Trump support comes from relatively old people. Here is one bit from my Bloomberg View column today:
Social Security is already the primary source of income for retired Americans, yet Social Security benefits for the elderly average only $16,000 a year, and traditional private-sector pensions have dwindled in importance.
When it comes to comparative retirement security, in an international comparison the United States finished 19th for three years in a row. Even relatively optimistic assessments suggest that only about 28 percent of American households will be able to maintain their pre-retirement living standards.
…As for today’s 45-to-69-year-olds, only 36 percent claim to be engaging in net savings. And only 45 percent of all people earning $75,000 to $100,000 a year claim to have net positive savings, as measured in 2012. That helps explain why the typical Trump voter in the Republican primaries earned a relatively high income of about $72,000 a year and still worried about his or her economic future.
We all know that falling incomes often have more political salience than low incomes. Furthermore this weakness of the American economy does not show up in either gdp or unemployment statistics. My conclusion is this:
Trump is himself often portrayed as impetuous. It is less commonly remarked that he may be in part the result of a broader and larger impatience that has plagued American society for decades.
Do read the whole thing.
Addendum: Here is commentary from Kevin Drum but I do not think he rebuts the estimates that consumption levels will be declining, often significantly, for a big chunk of this population.