The Widdershins

Archive for July 15th, 2015

Last week, the Bush “Hair Apparent” said something quite remarkable.  In talking about the economic needs of workers tethered to a living wage calculated for the 1970s, he said, “Workers need to work more hours.”

Okay, let’s dissect this in the light most favorable to the third Bush in the dynasty hedgerow.  Jeb! (always add the exclamation point to give him a little pizzazz)  said he meant, “More hours should be made available to workers,” as opposed to saying, “Workers were lazy slugabeds and needed to work more hours.”  Whatever exclamation boy!

Even if it was a misspeak, still not good Jeb!  In fact, it demonstrates an even more fundamental lack of understanding of the workforce and workers in general.  Here’s the 411:

  • American workers are the most productive workers on the face of the planet;
  • Since the 1970s, productivity has more than doubled and wages have only increased 13%;
  • Even from 2000 until 2012, productivity increased 25% and wages have actually receded – I’m repeating this for the appropriate amount of emphasis, from 2000 until 2012, wages have actually receded while productivity increased by one-quarter;
  • If wages had increased at the same rate as productivity, the current minimum wage would be $22/hour; and
  • Working people now take home the lowest share of total corporate income that’s been recorded since 1950.

Here’s a chart explaining the great parting of the ways between productivity and real earnings:

Productivity and Average Real Earnings

 

Here’s another one depicting productivity, the average income of the 1%, and average overall wages:

Productivity and Average income since 1979

Finally, this last one shows where the great chasm began:

Productivity and Average income of top one percent

 

The other thing about this dust-up and its utter lack of understanding is this:  People who are working part-time for the minimum wage don’t just work one job.  They work two and sometimes three jobs to pay the bills.  As Robert Reich says, “Part-time workers work sixty to seventy hours a week making them almost double full-timers.”  So the answer under the Bush beans-for-brains theory is, “Let’s just change the calendar and add a day – eight days a week and the plebeians can afford the electricity to run their luxury microwaves.  Long live the plutocrats!”  (Another appropriate use of an exclamation point is after the word plutocrat!)

The really sad thing is this – it isn’t the gaffe, or the misunderstanding of the labor market, or the failure to grasp simple economics – it is the abject failure to understand or offer even a cursory acknowledgement that trickle-down economics is a bust – no bueno – territory reserved for turds in the punch bowl!  Trickle down, supply side economics has been harmful and counterproductive to the entire economy, not just minimum wage workers, but wage earners throughout the economic spectrum.

Here’s the news flash every Republican doesn’t get or chooses to ignore:  Track the divergence between productivity and wages and it is the 1980s.  Track any number of economic indicators demonstrating the demise of the middle class and it is 1980s.  Track the economic damage to the middle class and the meteoric ascendancy of the wealthy, and it is 1980s.

First Fox debate...

First Fox debate…

Cut taxes, upload earnings to the cuticle pushed, gentrified echelon of the wealthy as spouted today by the Ben Hur cast of Republican presidential candidates and there isn’t a fly wings’ breadth of difference between now and what was peddled back in the 1980s by Ronaldus Maximus.

Here’s a question to stop those annoying uncles at cookouts this summer:  We’ve given 93 cents of every dollar in income growth to the top one-percent, why are the 99% not celebrating their new found prosperity?  “Big lotta ingrates they are, wouldn’t you agree Uncle Fester?”

I will be checking in sporadically today since I have flood clean-up duty so feel free to take the conversation in any direction you might like.

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Simply Put

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