Uncommon Sense

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!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.