Losing Out in the New Economy

I have no idea what the solution might be for those Americans who lose out in the new economy. Here’s an empathetic portrait of someone who did:


Democrats talk about a guaranteed annual income, but people like Shannon Mulcahy who have limited education and a skill set easily transferable to countries with cheaper labor don’t necessarily want to be supported by the government. They want a job. Republicans talk about returning to a bygone era of American manufacturing prowess, but their voters haven’t yet connected with the fact that “Made in America” would result in much higher price tags for goods we’ve learned to buy on the cheap. Forget WalMart’s every day low prices, or $19 Gap cotton T-shirts at 40% off any day of the week, not just on sale. Those low costs are how a lot of working class families can afford toilet paper and groceries and a functional used car. But the products aren’t made here.

Shannon Mulcahy isn’t ever going to land a well-paid tech job, she can’t support her family on a minimum wage service job, and she’s unlikely to return to school for nursing — a job that can’t move to Mexico. Besides, if Republicans are ultimately successful in killing the ACA, millions of Americans will lose their health care and a lot of jobs providing that health care will disappear as well.

I don’t know how to solve the problem of Shannon Mulcahy and all the American workers like her who have lost their place. I’m not thinking anyone now serving in Congress or the White House does either, which is truly worrisome.

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