If you examine economic history, it's easy to correlate the rise of unionism with the rise of the middle class and increases in the standard of living. Since unionism began declining, the minimum wage has fallen in real terms, poverty has increased, and nearly all new income generated through produtivity gains has flowed to the wealthiest Americans.<quoted text>
we are supposed to thank unions for a livable minimum wage...
are you saying you think they failed at their claimed crowning achievement?
If the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity since the 70's, it would be about $15/hour and full time minimum wage earners would generally not be eligible for food stamps nor Medicaid. The fact is, taxpayers are subsidizing low-wage jobs through higher government spending on SNAP, Medicaid, fuel assistance, Section 8 housing, Head Start, and many other programs that were designed to keep the poor from starving in the streets.
Dependency on government IS growing. But the reason it's growing is that a larger share of the nation's output stays at the top and does not flow to the lower and middle classes. Each dollar snatched from the minimum wage worker and given to a one percenter ends up spreading an additional cost among the 99%.