The Profound Social Cost of American Exceptionalism

(NY TIMES) Eduardo Porter, May 30, 2018 — When I wrote my first Economic Scene column six years ago, the unemployment rate languished at 8.2 percent as the job market painfully recovered from the jolt of the Great Recession. By last month, only 3.9 percent of working-age Americans who sought a job didn’t have one.

You are welcome.

I’m kidding, of course. How could anybody claim credit for the performance of something as vast and complex as the American labor market? My columns probably didn’t have anything to do with the doubling of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, either, or even with the sixfold rise in digital-only subscriptions to The New York Times.

To the contrary, as I write what will be the last column of my tenure, I can’t help but acknowledge how little purchase my writing has had on the substance of reality. In particular, it has had no discernible effect on what one might call America’s fundamental paradox.

The United States is one of the richest, most technologically advanced nations in the history of humanity. And yet it accepts — proudly defends, even — a degree of social dysfunction that would be intolerable in any other rich society.

Source: NY Times, Profound Social Cost Of America