Mailvox: You can blame the womenfolk

Hank writes: “Women entering the work force didn’t have to turn the country into the land of two income families.”

Actually, Hank, it was pretty inevitable. I’ve done extensive research on this. Economic theory dictates that if you double the workforce and everything else remains equal, you reduce the wage rate by half as you cannot ever escape the iron law of supply and demand. Now, obviously not everything has remained equal, but the evidence very much supports the theory. In fact, the primary reason that wages haven’t fallen more as women began working in large numbers is that older men left the workforce almost as fast as young women entered it. If you study the workforce numbers, a reasonably clear pattern emerges. To summarize, what we’ve seen over the last fifty years is that women have entered the workforce in order to make it possible for men to retire at 55+. This is particularly ironic considering that lifespans increased dramatically during this time.

Beyond that, the effect has been to reduce real wages, which peaked in the early 1970s.