Class Warfare Blog

June 7, 2014

What Ever Happened to Progress?

According to David Cay Johnson in Aljazeera America, the “recovery” from the Great recession isn’t so great, for example:

What about the average hourly wage for private sector workers? The 2014 Economic Report of the President shows that it rose in 2013. But the increase, after inflation, was just 12 cents an hour—a blip of about six-tenths of 1 percent.

More revealing, the average hourly pay of $20.13 last year was smaller than in 1972 and 1973. Back then, the inflation-adjusted hourly average was about 6 percent higher. In other words, people in 2013 worked 52 weeks to make what they would have made in 49 weeks back in 1972 and 1973.

Wait, it gets worse.

The presidential report shows that in 1972 and 1973 the average private sector worker was paid for 36.9 hours of work per week, but in 2013 this was down to 33.7 hours because a growing share of people can find only part-time jobs.

Combine lower pay with fewer hours, and the average weekly gross pay in the private sector dropped by 14 percent in four decades. That’s the equivalent of working 52 weeks in 2013 to earn 45 weeks’ worth of wages in 1972 and 1973.

What ever happened to “progress?” When I was a schoolboy (in the 1950’s) there was an intense focus on progress. General Electric’s slogan was “Progress is Our Most Important Product,” for example.

For working people, there has been not only no progress but just the opposite—regress—for the last 40 years.

When will working people stop voting against their own economic interests and insist that they share in the increase in wealth in this country? It is our huge productivity gains over that 40 years that created that wealth. Waiting for the fat cats to “share” doesn’t seem to be working. The “trickle” in “trickle down economics” is flowing the wrong way. Politicians are working for the rich, not the poor and the middle class any more.

Wake up people, you are being robbed and you are approving of it!


  1. You know that “progress” is a cuss word now, Steve? Nowadays, it’s all about taking Amurika back.


    Comment by List of X — June 7, 2014 @ 11:24 am | Reply

    • I guess all of this lack of progress is due to the atheistic, communistic, rainbow coalition. If only they would get out of the way and let god-fearin’ ‘Mericans do their business, none of this would have happened.

      I am beginning to understand that Americans are not more on the right or more on the left but rather just morons.


      On Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 11:24 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — June 7, 2014 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  2. The mindset is being shoved in the wrong and awkward direction.

    Steve, here’s an article you must read. This is a 1st year Uni student in Australia. I think she’s after your own heart. It’s a brilliant essay.


    Comment by john zande — June 7, 2014 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

    • Oh, wait up, she didn’t write it! Whoops. Still, the author of the blog does have her head screwed on right 🙂


      Comment by john zande — June 7, 2014 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

      • The author notwithstanding, this is swimming in the deep end. Because someone told him that he would be a loser if he didn’t get a good education does not really have anything to do with getting a good education.

        That people have associated a college education with “better” jobs does not automatically mean they will be better paying. as a college professor I never made as much as a master electrician. But I did get to work indoors in a climate controlled environment, whereas electricians here in Chicago work exposed to brutal cold in the winter. (I had to explain to one of my students (an apprentice electrician) why his hands were cracked and bleeding (hard to wear gloves and do wiring), When he became a journneyman, his pay changes but not his working conditions.

        So, miners make AU$160,000? They should, the job is dirty, dangerous, and life shortening. And while a great many people in Oz may be making a good living now, in the US, the number of miners has shrunk dramatically, and not because mining had diminished, production is actually up)–hint it has to do with technology and the more expensive the jobs the more affordable the tech looks.

        For some gods-awful reason, a high education has become a job qualification, rather than a preparation for life. Somebody forgot to tell the schools because they are teaching the “same old-same old” not specific job training.

        I think we need to be more skeptical of educational bullshit, which I believe is the actual point of the essay and not that a college education “ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.”

        On Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 8:24 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



        Comment by Steve Ruis — June 9, 2014 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  3. Geez – I “followed” you not 5 minutes ago, am 3 posts into your blog, now find myself bristling because you managed to push so many of my buttons 🙂 That’s a good thing – glad I’m able to explore your perspective.

    I’m Canadian so my perspective couldn’t begin to understand Australia. That said, I have very strong views on my disgraceful neighbors to the south – some of which trickle across global boundaries. Speaking to your earlier post on teachers and your comments on education – education is bad for big business. Fat cat business thrives because of progress on their terms. Educate the poor and suddenly you have people not so willing to swallow God and country propaganda, Educate your impressionable masses and overnight your army of voters thinks twice about gobbling up hysteria responsible for “business as usual”. Requiring university degrees for jobs insures that divide. In America, poverty translates to big money (for profit prisons, millions of desperate people willing to work for pitiful wages) Read this post I wrote last year….

    Progress long ago stopped being about anything other than money 🙂

    My apologies for just meeting you and delivering a rant.


    Comment by Notes To Ponder — June 29, 2014 @ 4:10 am | Reply

    • No apology needed–ranters can’t complain about rants in return. I was just reading your blog yesterday and I am sure you will get as good as you give. ;o)


      Comment by Steve Ruis — June 29, 2014 @ 7:10 am | Reply

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