How to help workers get paid more
The New York Times
Like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders has a simple explanation for what’s wrong with America, said David Brooks. Both blame “a malevolent, elite ‘they’” who are “destroying life for the rest of us.” In Sanders’ class-war narrative, capitalism itself is the problem, with evil billionaires and CEOs rigging the economy to benefit themselves and oppress the workers. Now, income inequality is a real problem, and it’s true that less educated workers need more “bargaining power” in dealing with employers. The root of the problem, however, is that in the “global, information-age economy,” highly skilled workers are in demand and are getting paid well while low-skilled workers have no real leverage. They lack the technological skills and specialized knowledge to provide the productivity that companies need and reward. The solution is not for government to punish “superstar companies” or shut down the global economy, which would hurt everyone. We need to help the left-behind workers catch up, “by having better schools and better vocational training” and by creating incentives for companies to invest in making their workforces more productive and valuable. An “us-versus-them political ideology” is “emotionally satisfying” but will solve nothing.