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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 18

Not the whole story

Ramesh Ponnuru’s column “Stagnating wages don’t tell the whole story” in the Aug. 15 Daily Tidings saying that the statistics regarding stagnating wages over the last several decades are not exactly correct is probably valid in that the increase of wages is understated. But that fact does not tell the whole story either.

Ponnuru neglects to say that the cost of increasing private/corporate pocketing of unearned incomes, especially from real estate investment/speculation over the same time, has increased far more than wages in the hands of our economic elites. He neglects to say that the cost of housing has far outpaced the ability of wage earners (whose income is 100 percent earned) to pay for the assets that give rise to unearned income in the hands of our economic elites.

So good on us for having an increase of wages larger than we thought. I say, so what?

The massive increase of the cost of housing far outpaces whatever increase of wages there has been. No amount of wage increase would have made housing affordable since increased wages tend to drive up the cost of land upon which all housing is built. Wages chase affordable housing but never get there. Not these decades anyway.

Cashing in on real estate investments gives the illusion of affordable housing for some but not for wage earners per se. This is a tiny (I assert fatal) flaw in the system that many think is the best system there is. There is a way out, but that is for another time.

Wendell Fitzgerald


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