Why Is the Cost of Living So Unaffordable?
The problem is the soaring cost of living, but the mainstream narrative is that we can blame low wages. If essentials such as healthcare, housing, higher education and government services were as cheap as they once were, a wage of $10 or $12 an hour would be more than enough to maintain a decent everyday life.
Some claim these services have improved greatly in the past 30, 40 and 50 years, but this is only occasionally valid; university education, housing and conventional preventative care have often declined in quality and quantity, not improved.
Here’s what’s going on: Cartels that have government backing can jack up prices at will, year after year, decade after decade, while wages have stagnated. Cartels have no pressure to raise wages, while their immense profits fund vast propaganda/public-relations machines that translate into equally vast political influence.
Politicos and non-profit foundations support more funding for healthcare and higher education. Healthcare, the defense industry, the Federal Reserve/banking sector and higher education cartels are all entrenched and self-serving.
The cartels have unlimited power to raise their prices, while the average wage-earner has essentially no power to create non-cartel alternatives or influence central-state/central bank support of rapacious, parasitic cartels.
The consumer is supposed to have power, but it only exists in an environment that enables level playing fields and transparent competition. Cartels buy political influence so the central state protects their pricing power and funds their rentier skims.
Strip away the centralized power that protects and funds cartels, and prices would plummet. The same dynamics would radically transform the cost structure of housing, healthcare, defense and everything else currently controlled by monopolies or cartels.