Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting Real

A favorite topic of mine is the steady decline in employment benefits available to American workers, particularly health insurance. This decline continues year after year and profoundly affects most working individuals and their families. In part this is why real wages have not increased much since the mid-70’s. However, stagnant real wages have been with us for nearly 40 years, grinding away in the background largely out of view for most Americans.

Why? First of all you have to pay attention to this “Dismal Science” issue, not something for which Joe Public has shown an affinity. Furthermore it’s come about gradually, easily knocked off the radar screen by oil shocks, inflation, the go-go 80’s, digitization, mini-wars, the internet stock market bubble, 9/11, bigger wars, and the real estate equity bubble (which of course, burst). And things looked and felt pretty good as each of these bubbles inflated. But then pop and the let-down, revealing worsening situations in real wages and employer provided benefits.

But Joe’s not looking. He has no energy or inclination to noodle macro not to mention microeconomic issues. His lily pad has shrunk and there’s no time and no choice. He plows on. And he might even find himself unemployed.

Now what?

First of all, get real. Joe is in fact a Free Agent and has been all along. Of course he didn’t know it and may not realize it now. But he is and it’s in his best interest to take on this mindset ASAP. And if he doesn’t?  Well then he’ll begin again to build his house on a faulty foundation. In effect, starting from where he is not. Joe can only truly move forward if he starts from where he really is. The first step must take place within Joe.

Even though economics in general and economic policy in particular is of real interest to me, it’s beside the point and not the primary focus of this blog. Where we are, is where we are. Nothing changes until we wake up and take stock. The marketplace cares not.

Digging deeper into all of this and how it impacts Joe, is something I look forward to doing.  I will do so by introducing concepts that I use daily, such as being a Free Agent.   
Until then, travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell    

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