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Blog of Mass Destruction

40 Years Without A Raise

By The Reverend Published: June 8, 2013

Should U.S. workers work for less? Does the path to renewed national prosperity depend on American workers being paid less than they are today? If American workers work for even less, will U.S. corporate conglomerates be satisfied.....or will more concessions by workers be continually necessary to prevent the John Galt Incorporated-groups from taking their moneyballs and fleeing to other nations for good?

Hourly pay for nonfarm workers fell at a 3.8 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday. This was the biggest quarterly decline since the BLS started keeping track in 1947.


Smoothing out the quarterly ups and downs doesn't make the picture look any better. Hourly worker pay rose just 1.9 percent in 2012, a pitiful increase that barely kept up with the 1.8 percent gain in the consumer price index. That was the third-weakest annual increase in hourly pay since 1947, topping only the 1.4 percent gain in 2009 and a 1.8-percent gain in 1994.

Hourly pay has grown by just 2 percent per year, on average, for the past four years, the weakest four-year stretch on record. At the same time, corporate profits are at record highs, and until a recent swoon, the stock market was setting records, too. Workers haven't been reaping the rewards, but their employers have been.

To many conservatives, those facts describe how things are meant to be. Employers, who have no obligation to anyone but themselves and a few very rich stockholders, are in business to make money for only themselves and their rich stockholders. No other loyalty or responsibility exists.

The fact that Big Employers are setting record profit numbers while workers are losing wage ground simply means that capitalism is working as it should. Those who "make"...Big Employers....take all the chances and work really, really hard......while workers...well....they just "take."

Is it any wonder then that the "takers" who work for wages, instead of profits like Big Employers, saw their wages fall at an annualized rate of almost 4% last quarter? I mean, they're "takers", right......and as "takers" they are getting what they deserve.

In fact our nation of workers has been getting what Galtians believe they're worth for quite some time now.....with the top 1% doubling their average income from 1970-2008 while the bottom 90% ("takers") lost 1%. Translation: "takers" haven't received a real raise in 40 years while the 1% "makers" have doubled their.....take.

One explanation for those stark inequality numbers could be that today's workers are lazy, unmotivated "takers" who don't deserve to be rewarded with real wage increases because others will perform the same job for less. Today's workers are unaccustomed to strapping up their boots and taking risks, like "makers" do.....and because of those choices, they should not see their wages increase in 40 years.

Another explanation for those stark inequality numbers could be that "makers" have paid enough bribes to elected government officials to keep the minimum wage low and unions virtually extinct over decades. In this explanation, most, if not all, legislation written over the last 3-4 decades was written to advantage the wealthiest in our midst. Lower tax rates on capital gains, dividends, and of the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the world....and a GOP plan moving forward to make all those already-low rates, even lower.

Which of the two explanations is the most credible? Ya' think.

Update: Must read on this topic is found here.....a rare heretical account by a bonafide boot strapper.



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