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Flat wages, soaring profits

I'm reading "The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Workers," by New York Time labor reporter Steven Greenhouse. I'm only a couple of chapters into the book, but already, the numbers make me wanna holler.

Worker productivity is up 60 percent since 1979. Not that it did the worketing stiff much good.

Wages during that period for 80 percent of U.S. workers -- non-supervisors working in the private sector -- are up 1 percent after being adjusted for inflation. Wages for men are acutally down 5 percent.

Who made out? Stockholders. Corporate profits from 2001-2007 jumped an average of 13 percent a year.

The working poor are getting hit especially hard. And there are lots of them. Almost one-quarter of the work force earns less than $10 a hour. Yeah, some of them are students, but many are a mom or dad trying to support a family. Raise a family of four on those wages and you're below the poverty line. Which is growing, by the way, up 15 percent, or 5.6 million people, from 2000 to 2006.

Greenhouse's findings are summed up by his Times colleague Paul Krugman:

"It's a great economy if you're a high-level corporate executive or someone who owns a lot of stoock. For most other Americans, economic growth is a spectator sport."

Part One of a Greenhouse interview on Democracy Now! is posted above. Part Two is below. They both run about 10 minues each.

Here's a book review from the New York Times. Read it and weep.


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