In "Economy Keeps Improving, Why Aren't
Clinton's Polls?" (Opinion, 9/4), Walter Russell Mead points
out that "rising GDP no longer means a higher standard of
living for the majority of American households" and asks "Does anyone have any suggestions?" Here are a few that
cannot be overlooked.
Politically, to be blunt, there's just too
much money in too few hands; and the rest of us -- who must buy
the lion's share of the nation's goods and services -- are
left fighting over the scraps: A genuinely progressive income
tax and a union movement amongst service workers today as vital
as that amongst factory workers a century ago would promote not
only fairness but also prosperity.
Technologically, "real wages started to fall
in 1973" just as the price of energy -- and, thus, the cost
of all goods and services -- started to rise dramatically. Even
today, just the fear of renewed inflation prompts the Federal
Reserve Board to raise interest rates and, consequently, deem 6%
Historic increases in standards of living have
come only after harnessing new sources of energy: Fire empowered
prehistoric encampments; beasts of burden, the first farm
communities; slaves, ancient civilizations; the water wheel,
Renaissance Europe; coal-fired steam, the Industrial Revolution;
and petroleum, the 20th Century.
For the foreseeable future, there is no safer,
more inexhaustible alternative than solar energy: Nationally and
internationally, we must develop both Earth- and space-based
systems to reap the trillions of dollars' worth of solar power
that goes to waste every year.
Politically and technologically, standards of
living can rise only if we bring "power to the people"!