This month the Census Bureau reported that the inflation adjusted median income for male workers was $32,127 in 2010, less than the $32,844 such workers earned in 1968. There are, of course, many reasons for this prolonged wage stagnation, but chief among them are mass immigration, which began with the Immigration Act of 1965, and free trade, which was given a substantial boost by the Kennedy Round of GATT, also occurring in the mid-1960s. Unfortunately, despite some rhetorial flourishes, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney remain committed to both mass immigration and free trade. So, whoever wins in November, middle class Americans will continue to lose.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.