You can blame whichever segment you like, but you're (for the most part) talking about things like factory jobs, no? For whichever reason you like to choose, the US really just doesn't MAKE things anymore, or not really. Even in the golden age of 1950s America, I'm not sure the entry-level fast-food equivalent worker was going home to a house in the 'burbs. If all you qualify for (or aspire to) is the bare minimum, I really don't see the cause for uproar when that's all you receive in return.
The US has pretty well ruined our economic model, yes. There's still money in tech jobs, and anything involving intellectual property, but outside of that, things have shrunk so that the only big segment left is Service Industry. There are various levels of that, but it's not the easy highway to the comfortable blue-collar lifestyle we used to have, completely agree.
And since we decided that a college degree was the big thing, pretty much EVERYONE goes now, so if you don't, you barely qualify for the entry level wage now. It used to be that having the degree set you apart, now NOT having one does, and having one really doesn't buy you much unless you picked a good one, and got decent grades while doing so. Advanced degrees are now the thing that gets you above the pack. Even that is being watered down as people avoid the job market and become degree-collectors/career students instead.
Not sure where to go with that, other than restate that the bare minimum is now more than it used to be. More competition, fewer jobs. If you're trying to get by on the OLD minimum, it's going to be rough at best, and it shouldn't be a shock.
Maybe this is one of the areas where my 'Republican' shows a bit, but you're not just OWED a comfortable life for showing up. Gotta do something to earn it. When there's increased competition and fewer opportunities, you have to work harder, not just complain that it's not as easy. No one owes you a nice life or a house with cable tv.
yes I was talking about factory jobs, but there's nothing magical or special about them that made them so great for workers-there were two factors-they were heavily unionized and they were stable jobs that provided folks a measure of security.
You're right about where our economy is going-two-tiered, where you've got a small number of really good tech jobs or "creative class" jobs and a large amount of service sector jobs that don't pay well and have crappy benefits. Part of the solution is to drive for unionization of service sector jobs, but globalization makes this a different envoronment so that those jobs might just disappear if that happened.
You can go on about how "workers aren't owed a decent living," and I guess you're right, strictly speaking. But our current model is unsustainable. You can't say "everyone needs college" and then make college unaffordable, or de-value the worth of degrees. What next? Everyone needs Ph.D.s?
And from a national economic standpoint, you need workers with money in their pockets to buy products and services.