Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eskrow: Where did U.S. wages go?

Here's Eskrow's key observation, one that you cannot even make nowadays in America without being accused of a socialist bent [emphasis mine]:

We don't have a problem of inadequate wealth. The problem is inadequate wealth distribution. For 99 percent of Americans, wage growth has lagged significantly behind increases in productivity. As the authors [of the briefing paper "A Decade of Flat Wages"] note, this is true "regardless of occupation, gender, race/ethnicity, or education level." Since the Great Recession productivity has grown by 7.7 percent, while wages have actually fallen for the bottom 70 percent of earners.

[...] Between 2001 and 2012 productivity grew by 22.2 percent, while wages grew only 0.8 percent. 

My Republican friends, take special note of the phrase, "...regardless of occupation, gender, race/ethnicity or education level."  This phrase should stifle your knee-jerk reactions to blame those other people for America's economic woes.

So the facts are indisputable.  The question is: what are the causes? Eskrow points out a few:

A companion report from EPI, The State of Working America, 12th Edition, identifies some of the causes: Growing inequality. Policy inaction which eroded the value of the minimum wage. The weakening of employees' rights. Tax policy. Wall Street deregulation.

Other factors are left unmentioned, including problems in corporate governance and the distorting effect of changing executive compensation on corporate management practices.

Eskrow also blames another cause: "centrist" Democrats, aka 1990s-era Republicans who today call themselves Democrats: 

The word "centrist" is placed in quotation marks because polls show that their economic views are to the right of the American mainstream. On issues such as corporate taxation, Social Security benefits, and free trade, they stand to the right of most Americans -- and sometimes to the right of most registered Republicans.

Forget Republicans in Congress, they're nuts.  We need Democrats to be Democrats again, grow a spine, or get out of office.

By Richard (RJ) Eskrow
August 28, 2013 | Huffington Post

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