Two op-eds in today’s Seattle Times worth taking a look at…

  • Biodiesel: short-term crush or long-term relationship?  Bruce Ramsey takes a balanced, but ultimately favorable, view of government programs to encourage home-grown fuels.
  • The rapid disappearance of America’s middle class.  We posted on a similar subject a few days ago, but it’s worth repeating—rising family incomes don’t necessarily mean that we’re better off.  In fact, after adjusting for inflation, male full-time workers earn $800 less today than in 1973, which means that the rise in median family income is entirely due to increases in two-earner households.  Of course, these sorts of trends are hard to make sense of across decades, since so many things change—people’s expectations, the quality of consumer goods and public services, enjoyment of time at work vs. time at home, etc.  Still, there’s ample reason to believe that the well-being of the middle class has become uncoupled from steady increases in per-capita GDP. The money quote of the article. "All the talk about family values is just that—talk—when our financial policies are driving middle-class families to the wall."

I’m not sure I share all the opinions expressed in the op-eds—but don’t really have anything to add to either piece, either.