With all the traditional economic indicators looking strong heading into an election year the conventional wisdom would hold that this is good news for the incumbent. But since the incumbent is a Republican, MSNBC Live host Ali Velshi and CNBC's John Harwood declared on Friday that all is not well and implied that the current economic situation could give credence to Democratic policy priorities and help Democratic presidential candidates who are dramatically to the left.
Velshi and Harwood lamented that despite 3.5 percent unemployment and other positive economic developments that the economy is not performing well for low-skilled individuals with Harwood declaring, "A lot of those so-called minuscule jobs have been hollowed out and so we have an economy that rewards people with high levels of creativity, skill, innovation, and that and the structure of corporate life which has been increasingly evolved to reward shareholders rather than broader sets of people, that's who is making out very well, but people without advanced skills are not doing so well."
Velshi conceded "all of the top line numbers look good, right? I mean 20 years ago if we said we would have an employment rate below 5 percent, we would have been quite pleased with that. To be 3.5 percent, you would think everybody could go up to their boss, say I am walking out if you don't increase my salary in a meaningful way. We still have minimum wage of $7.25 in some parts of the country, the federal minimum wage. At $15 an hour, you earn $30,000 a year. We've got the situation where there are riches abound, and we talk about them a lot and people don't feel like it is being distributed to them in a fair way."
Harwood, who is such an objective reporter that he recently declared the Republican Party to be "fundamentally broken," agreed that the current state of the economy could be good news for those who wish to see liberal policies implemented, "And that's why Democrats have been focusing on longer term solutions built around infrastructure spending to increase productivity. Higher levels of subsidies and educational assistance for people to up their skill level, move up the value chain and try to expand the circle of people with the ability to command those rewards."
When given the wage gap between high and low-skilled workers, Harwood declared, "That's going to take some intervention we haven't quite figured out yet." Such needed intervention is the reason "why you have people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talking about turning the system upside down. That could have unintended consequences, we don't know whether that will work or not."
Is it all bad news for the common worker? In his previous sentence, Harwood conceded, "It is true wages are rising at the bottom, but these are not quantum leaps that change the trajectory of opportunity for large numbers of people." What Harwood considers to be a "quantum leap" is not something he disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that, "Wages for rank-and-file workers are rising at the quickest pace in more than a decade, even faster than for bosses."