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Oh, How the Wages Have Fallen

Posted on Jul 8, 2010
Flickr / Thirteen of Clubs

Most Americans have caught on by now that the economic implosion that rocked the national and global economy over the past two years hasn’t meant good things for their personal finances. But when it comes to paycheck patterns, it turns out that wages have been on the decline for much longer than that—try a decade, for example.  —KA


Median weekly wages, when adjusted for inflation, fell slightly for both high school and college graduates from 2000 to 2009, according to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

“The story is often told that college graduates have done well and everyone else has not. But that’s not true,” said Josh Bivens, an economist at EPI.

For high school graduates, median inflation-adjusted wages were $626 per week in 2009, compared with $629 in 2000, according to EPI. If you assume a worker gets paid for a full year, that adds up to $32,552 in 2009, down from $32,708 in 2000.

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By Nancy Van Ness, July 10, 2010 at 2:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is notable that the advice is not for people to unionize and organize in order to increase their income.  When a small percent of the population is making huge gains and the greatest number are falling behind, it looks like a good time to redistribute the wealth that workers create.

FDR taxed the richest people in the country and created jobs.  Today, there is talk in the political sphere and in much of what passes for public discourse only of belt tightening.  It will lead to worse disaster.

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By Anon, July 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In my industry, it’s been in continuous and unrelenting recession and also
depression since 2003. I don’t know what world people live in, but this “economic
downturn” did NOT start in 2008.

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By Hulk2008, July 9, 2010 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Business managers are all making very short term decisions.  To satisfy the temporary greed of stockholders and to meet false expectations of Wall Street analysts, they dump workers to cut costs.  In the long run, they cannot grow or improve the business without those workers.  They look good to their supervisors and upper management - but it’s just a matter of time before productivity crashes and the real downturn occurs - total stagnation.  In the meantime, laid off workers lose their edge in expertise - if re-hired they cannot bounce back to their earleier capability levels - it will take a very long time to come back.  No double-dip - just a long drawn out parabolic U shape stretched over a very long time. 

Can you remember the Japanese “recovery?  10 years and counting.

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By Jean Gerard, July 9, 2010 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Catch the resemblance between financial advice to those out of work and advice
to the lovelorn?  It’s always something foolish YOU shouldn’t do, shouldn’t have
done, shouldn’t do next time.’
“Start living within your means.”  “Cut out the fat.”  Don’t cut insurance for
something of less value.”  “Don’t cash in long-term savings.”  “Don’t stop paying
into your retirement fund.” 

So what’s the fat we are supposed to cut?  Like—food, clothing and shelter?
Ah, for the life of the rich!  Nothing to cut but deals!

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By GW=MCHammered, July 9, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Over the past generation, US Capitalism (a social system based on individual rights and an economic system based on private ownership of capital) turned to Capitalizing (drawing advantage from - a social system based on propaganda, individual freedom playing second-string to special interest and an economic model based not on positive productivity but free-based on corporate/wall street/institutional dominion and extortion).

The productive economic system of Capitalism began in 16th century Europe. Destructive, egocentric Capitalizing began the first time two mindless microscopic cells crossed paths. And here we are today.

Corporations choke jobs. Banks imprison capital/credit. Wall Street holds the other crank, Washington’s Achilles Crotch. Why? All to steal workers’ coffers. Divorce K-Street and Capital Hill. Justice Department, where are you?

We need real pay for real work. No more Wall Street bundling, corporate thieving, pump-n-dump economics. The Greed Gene dies here.

So long as the American Worker plays the victim, they will be abused. Take a week off folks. A week from work, buying, selling, etc. National Strike Week would show all that the buck starts and can stop right here.

Then dissolve our bipolar political parties by 2012 if they can’t get constitutional democracy right for the American people starting today. American citizens and their posterity deserve better.

“eight in 10 people who lost jobs in the recession have yet to find new employment. Most of those who have found work have taken pay cuts and/or lost benefits; six in 10 of them say it’s not the job they wanted, but one they took simply to make ends meet.”

Our new slogan:
“Do Not Tread On Me. You Do Not Walk On Water.”
(btw, i’m self employed)

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By Leefeller, July 8, 2010 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

So the median inflation-adjusted wages have gone down, how about the costs of everything, which seem to have gone up. 

It is really not so bad, for it always can be much worse, I hear postal rates are going up again! And in California, State employees are now receiving minimum wage.

Bare necessities are becoming a treat.

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