Americans are facing a painful drop in the higher living standards brought by ultra-low interest rates and a technology revolution. It had to end sometime.
Believe it or not, we live in the best of times. It’s been a crazy few decades, with a pandemic, rising inequality, slowing growth and productivity, and major changes in the economy. But generally, most people experienced huge gains in living standards. We shudder to think what life was like in the 1980s or 90s, when air-conditioning was still a luxury, as were dishwashers; people had to defrost their freezers, we were tied to landlines, and homes had only one or two televisions — and they weren’t even flatscreens. The smartphone may not be the game changer that indoor plumbing was, but just stop and count all the ways it’s smoothed out the kinks in your daily struggle.
Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
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