By David Cay Johnston

Wages Fall At Record Pace

June 20, 2013 4:58 pm Category: Economy, Memo Pad 199 Comments A+ / A-
Wages Fall At Record Pace

Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Hourly wages fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest drop since the BLS began tracking compensation in 1947. Productivity rose half a percentage point. The result was that what economists call “labor unit costs” fell 4.3 percent.

In plain English, that means paychecks overall shrank, but work output grew. If you are a business owner, that is news worthy of a toast with a bottle of the finest Cristal champagne, which at $595 is more than the $518 that a median-wage worker earns in a week.

If you have not heard this news about plummeting wages, it is not surprising. Except for right-wing websites, and an item at the liberal Huffington Post, the June 5 announcement went unreported.

The networks and the major newspapers all have staffs of business reporters, yet they missed the third paragraph of the official government announcement that contained this important news.

That is because they are mostly assigned to write about hedge funds, high finance and the latest smartphone app. Hardly any business reporters cover workers or work, and when they do, it is often from the perspective of company executives and investors.

My former employer, The New York Times, not only failed to report this awful news affecting the vast majority of Americans who work, but gave a misleading account in both a news report and a blog post:

Average weekly hours and average hourly earnings, for example, have shown little improvement in recent months, according to the Labor Department.

That is true, by the way. Misleading and incomplete, but true. It is also in line with that paper’s tradition of focusing readers on any silver lining in an economic storm.

What the Times reports matters a great deal, as every other news organization turns to it first because of its unmatched resources and talent. But that also means that when that newspaper misses, or muffs, a story, so does everyone else.

It is not like this new wage news can be dismissed as an anomaly, either. It is evidence of a troubling trend – falling incomes for the 99 percent.

Pay for most jobs has been falling because of a combination of anti-union rules that have reduced membership to its lowest level in almost a century, trade deals with China that have destroyed 2.8 million jobs and put pressure on workers to accept lower pay to compete with imports, and the severe cuts in welfare benefits over the past two decades, which have flooded the market with low-wage workers. America ranks second only to South Korea in the share of workers earning low wages, both at about one job in four.

At the same time, taxpayers have been giving ever-larger subsidies to employers, notably Walmart, many of whose workers need food stamps.

From 2007 to 2011 the average pretax income of the bottom 90 percent fell from $35,173 to $30,437. That is a drop of more than $4,500. It is also a decline of nearly 13 percent.

The 2012 data are likely to show that drop has worsened, with the vast majority’s average income likely to be down $5,000, or roughly $100 per week. We’ll see how well that gets reported in the fall when new data becomes available.

By the way, if you make a good living, or your household enjoys two above-average incomes, don’t think that you are exempt from this trend toward less.

During the same period, the threshold to enter the top 10 percent fell by 6.5 percent, a drop of $7,665 to $110,651, analysis of the latest IRS data by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty shows.

This drop in income is part of a long-term trend in which the economy grows, but nearly all the gains go to the top. From 2009 to 2011 the top 1 percent got 121 percent of all the gains, which was possible only because the 99 percent got less.

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Wages Fall At Record Pace Reviewed by on . Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. H Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. H Rating:

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Comments

  • Robert P. Robertson

    Wow. This should be good news to corporations and industries who are outsourcing jobs and closing down American companies to choke out the unions. With falling wages, they can return to give Americans their old jobs back at lower salaries with longer hours, less safety regulations, no security, and best of all— no unions. Man, nothing smells better than the bottom line!

    • FredAppell

      In other words, Third World conditions for our labor force or what remains of it.

      • Robert P. Robertson

        Unfortunately, that’s been the Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea Bag plan all along, Fred. Nothing else matters to them, even if it means the destruction of their own country. There’s hope right around the corner, though. If Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea Bags are intent on representing the rich, corporations, industries, and their own self-interests, obstructing the progress of America, we should go out en-masse and vote those suckers out in 2014. Their terrorism is hurting everyone, mainly their own constituents. They are dead weight, and we need to get rid of them.

        • FredAppell

          I’m looking forward to it Robert. I don’t want to make President Obama a king but we definitely need to get him some more help.

      • Catskinner

        Which is where we’ve been headed ever since Obama got elected.

        • FredAppell

          Unlike you, i’m not blaming Obama for my current condition.
          I’m in the bedding industry which has been in free fall since 2006. No one wants to pay for quality products anymore, that isn’t Obama’s fault. There has been a shift in mentality over the years. People want faster and cheaper goods without thinking about the consequences of their desire. It’s our fault, we created this mess but you can go ahead and just keep on blaming Obama if it makes you feel better.

          • Catskinner

            It does!

          • elw

            Catskinner blames the President for everything. He just cannot help himself.

          • FredAppell

            That’s o.k., we like to blame the Republicans. It’s all par for the coarse.

          • elw

            Well I don’t know about you, but I would rather make fun of them since they do and say so many silly things. I do not, however, blame them the Republicans for things they didn’t do or make up things to blame on them like Catskinner and the others like him/her do to President Obama.

          • FredAppell

            You can never go wrong by taking the high road my friend. I believe strongly in saying what’s on one’s mind, like you, when someone knowingly lie’s to win an argument though, they have destroyed their own credibility. It’s alright to be wrong as long as you believe in what you are saying. Sincerity and integrity will win you respect every time no matter what.

          • elw

            I agree. And I think your statement clearly describes why the Radicalized Right is losing ground. You know the funny thing is I use never vote strickly party lines but for the candidate, that started to changed when Reagan came to office and has only gotten worse over time; now I find myself voting always for the lesser of two evils which seems to be whatever democrat is running.

          • FredAppell

            I was just a kid entering middle school when Reagan took office.
            My family was never overtly political. My father was a Teamsters
            so he generally voted the way they voted but he wasn’t a liberal. I always thought I was more Republican than Democrat but only because I identified myself with the party of Lincoln. It had only dawned on me much later that the two parties essentially switched. Clinton’s impeachment and King Georges coronation
            pretty much sealed it for me. That is when my real education began and I started to understand more about myself and my place in the world. I didn’t vote in 2000 but I haven’t missed one
            since and I vote exclusively Democrat.

            That could change if the Republicans would find the courage to clean out their party of the radicals and move back toward the center and learn how to represent all of us.

          • elw

            It would be better for everyone if the GOP stopped playing to the most Radical amongst them. They may even be able to get something done. But do not hold your breath, I doubt they have the character to do that. The ones who did have already left the Party.

          • FredAppell

            You mean people like Olympia Snowe. She is a perfect example to cite. She would have been forced out eventually if she didn’t retire. She was very public about her reasons for getting out and yet, it didn’t cause anyone to self reflect and examine their priorities. Instead, they considered her to be one less roadblock on their way to dominance.

          • elw

            Yes, she was a voice of reason.

          • neeceoooo

            I also think that the customer service level has changed and not for the better. Maybe that is because when you call into a call center for advice, you get India or Mexico or some other country.

            Another point, is the quality of products, so not only are the products of lesser quality, the service around the product is lesser quality. Products are no longer built with quality but instead with quantity as the focus.

          • FredAppell

            True, but as I have stated above, some of this is on our shoulders. I hope I don’t sound sanctimonious, I’m really not trying to, I have been and still am part of the problem. It took a long time but I believe American’s are starting to realize that we painted ourselves into this corner, of course it doesn’t help that wages have remained stagnant for 30 years either.

          • jarheadgene

            Unfortunately, in many cases..it is not that people do not prefer quality products…so much as that they cannot afford them. And that is part of what the article is about.

          • FredAppell

            That’s part of it, it’s probably about 50/50. But it perpetuates itself. In my community, i’m seeing people driving around in $50,000 vehicles shopping at Walmart. I have personally delivered bedding to many of these same people and their houses would make you sick. It isn’t just image with them, they have actual wealth but some of them are the cheapest SOB’s
            around and their lousy tippers too. My father was a truck driver
            who believed that everything he bought was an investment. The more he spent up front, the more he saved later on. So he always bought top of the line. That left a huge impression on me.

          • davidcayjohnston

            Columnist here — thank you, jarhead

        • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

          You mean since the Republicans decided they would do everything possible, including tanking their own chances at winning the Presidency any time in the next decade or so by making sure President Obama got none of his agenda done to the point of making him a one term President? Yeah. That worked really well. I am still waiting for the Jobs bill the Republicans promised the American people to win their House Majority back in 2010. Or was their jobs bill supposed to be a gutting of all the protections for workers so employers could make more profits for less outlay?

          • Catskinner

            Actually, now we know that Romney would have won if the IRS hadn’t skewed the election. So I don’t expect things to get much rosier for Obama in the near future.

          • TZToronto

            As you may recall, all of the right-wing groups considered by the IRS retained their tax-exempt status. So you know nothing. Talk about skewing!!? How about the fact–and it IS a fact–that Democratic House candidates won way more popular votes (something like 3 million more) than Republicans, but, thanks to gerrymandering (i.e., skewing), Republicans managed to win more House seats.

          • Catskinner

            Actually, many of the right-wing groups still have not been either granted nor denied their tax exempt status, and most of the ones who were did not obtain approval until after the election.

            Popular votes in the House don’t really mean much. A district in New York City will garner a lot more votes than a district in Wyoming.

          • Landsende

            If these groups were really non political as they claimed it shouldn’t have made any difference in the election unless they were trying to use their tax exempt status as a means of not dislosing their donors which is a violation of the law.

          • Catskinner

            Actually, the committee members said it was against the law for the IRS to ask for a list of donors. So you’re either misinformed or they are, and nobody representing the IRS questioned them when they said it.

          • Sand_Cat

            I believe the IRS is largely forbidden to resist by law. And you are the misinformed one if you listen to what Daryl Issa and the other compulsive liars on the Republican side say.

          • Catskinner

            Yep, you’re getting there Sand Cat, what the IRS did was highly illegal. That’s why Lois Lerner took the fifth.

          • davidcayjohnston

            Lois Lerner, whose resignation I called for on May 17, had to take the 5th because Eric Holder said he was ordering a criminal investigation. http://www.taxanalysts.com/taxcom/taxblog.nsf/Permalink/SCAO-97SHBS?OpenDocument

            Exercising your 5th Amendment rights is a vital bulwark of individual liberty against tyranny. It is also mandatory for anyone who has been told they are subject to a criminal investigation, as ANY lawyer in America will tell you.

          • Catskinner

            In light of what’s happened, it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would take anything Eric Holder said seriously. The purpose of the 5th amendment is to allow one to avoid having to give testimony against oneself.

            Personally, I think Lois Learner and that Schulman character should both be in jail.

          • davidcayjohnston

            So you do not believe in the rule of law? Or understand the law, either. Did you sleep through junior high school civics?

            You may dislike Holder, but he is the Attorney General of the United States. If he said you were sbject of a criminal investigation any lawyer would tell you to assert your Fifth Amendment right before Congress.

            And what crimes do you think Shulman and Lerner committed? I cannot imagine any, not one, and wrote so earlier in my Tax Analysts column.

            The liberties of the people depend on an informed citizenry and respect for the rule of law. Your posts suggest you are neither informed, nor interested in being informed, and would like the law to be wielded in a tyrannical fashion against those you dislike. Your posts here show you are a model of everything our Constitution is designed to protect people from.

          • Catskinner

            I come from a different perspective. Let me give you some background:
            I first went into business when I was 19 years old, and I got audited by the IRS. I had to take my meager records into a conference room with three of those buffoons, and after an hour or so they concluded I owed them eighty-six bucks. I didn’t think I really owed them anything, but they had to come up with something to justify all the time they had wasted.

            Fast forward twenty years–we’re in the depths of the Reagan Recession–I’m in the heavy construction business, it’s late fall, and I’ve just competed the construction of three housing projects. All three developers file bankruptcy, and eventually I end up with several dozen building lots. The problem is, in the area I’m in at that time in history, selling lots around there was like trying to sell sand at the beach.
            I’m able to meet my payroll, but I can’t pay the quarterly payroll taxes, so the IRS liens the lots. In spite of everything, a person will come along once in a while to buy a lot to build on later, or to hold onto until he/she retires. So I approach the IRS and tell them I can pay a certain percentage of the money each time I sell a lot, and they go for it.
            But the first time I try to sell, they change their mind. They tell me I have to sell all the lots in one transaction, and pay all the money at one time.
            I’m screwed.
            Eventually all the lots went back to various banks, I went to work for a big company in California, and then they came along to garnish my wages. In the end, the IRS got about 2 cents on the dollar, I was wiped out completely, and some of the materials suppliers ended up not getting paid at all.

            PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THE IRS HAVE TO BE SLIMY, STUPID, CROOKED AND DUMB–by definition. And tens of thousands of small business owners across America know that.

            You don’t seem to know that. In fact, you sound like a public employee yourself.

          • oldtack

            I fail to see anywhere in your diatribe where you ever availed yourself of Legal advice from a Tax Attorney in any of your encounters with the IRS. If you undertook to “fight” IRS with no knowledge of Tax law then I am dubious of your expertise as a Developer.

            You make mistakes and become in violation of existing law.You do not seek legal advice but rather blindly attack the “problem” and expect to win your case?

            You screwed up in your endeavor and rather than seek intelligent input from experts in the field you rant and rave that ALL PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THE IRS ARE SLIMY, STUPID, AND DUMB…AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ACROSS AMERICA KNOW THAT.
            Really?

            Do you have a list of all of these TENS OF THOUSANDS? Surely you took a poll or got a legal Petition of Protest so you have names and facts to back up your allegations did you not?.

            For Clarification to the forum – I ask you to please produce the names of these TENS OF THOUSANDS. It would be very enlightening to everyone.

            Or- are you just another Darrell Issa?

          • Catskinner

            I was a contractor, not a developer, and of course I hired attorneys. The IRS lied to them too.

            I don’t have to look up tens of thousands of people with similar experiences. You can do that for yourself. My estimate is probably low.

            And the American public is lucky to have somebody in Congress who is as conscientious as Darrell Issa.

          • oldtack

            Oh yes – we definitely need more Darrell Issa high school drop outs to run our Government. Notice in his checkered history he joined the Military at 17 and received some type of Discharge 5 months later. Was he guilty of the charges filed against him? Did his brother take the fall and go to prison to protect brother?

            Yes indeed we definitely need more of this ilk to run this Country.

          • Fern Woodfork

            Yes We Need More People Like Issa Like We Need More Cancer, HIV Or Rabbis!!

          • oldtack

            As a Contractor, did you not check the Financial stability of the Developers before you contracted the work? In your “fight” with the IRS – who ended up with your property – the IRS -or- your Attorneys and the Banks?

          • Catskinner

            I don’t know where you were in the 80′s, oldtack, but we had what they called a “Swiss Cheese” economy. I was in Oregon, and Oregon was in one of the holes. When I first started the projects, all of the developers were solid gold, but Paul Volker started raising interest rates and it came apart very quickly, a lot like 2008. The difference was it didn’t come apart everywhere. It particularly didn’t come apart in areas where there was massive defense spending, like California for instance.

            To answer you questions, though, my attorneys petitioned the court for payment out of the estate and they were awarded a small stipend. I think they got a third of what they’d billed for, and that really wasn’t much. Years later one of them billed me for the part he wasn’t able to recover from the court. My attorneys didn’t come out well at all.

            The banks, however, strung things out as long as they could, and when the local economy started to show signs of life again they paid off the IRS and took possession of the properties. The entire process took about five years.

          • oldtack

            I do remember the 80′s. It was a bad time for any businessman in the “off” States.
            Still the same way today. Sorry about your loss.

          • Catskinner

            Well, like they say, oldtack… Live and learn!

          • davidcayjohnston

            Again, you misunderstand. The IRS gets lists of all significant donors, tbut the names are not made public.
            Have you ever signed a Form 990 and read its Schedule B, which identities all significant donors? I have.
            Go to the IRS website and read the instructions for Form 990, Schedule B.

          • davidcayjohnston

            Of course you could do some research and you would discocer that significant donors are disclosed on Schedule B of Form 990, which all 501 organizations file each year — the donor names go to the IRS< but are not made public by the iRS.

          • Catskinner

            They said in the hearing that the IRS could not ask for donors’ lists. Nobody rebutted that, so what is one to think?

          • elw

            So what votes mean something to you?

          • Fern Woodfork

            Romney Mr. Strip And Ship!! LOL The King Of Stripping American Companies And Shipping American Jobs Overseas To India China And What Ever Sweatshops In This World He Could Find Where There’s Slave Labor With Little Or No Pay!! Thank You Fellow Americans For Not Letting That Greedy Asshole Win The White House!!!! IRS LOL

          • neeceoooo

            Amen to that…..friend

          • elw

            Who is we?

          • Catskinner

            The American public.

          • neeceoooo

            but your American public looks a little different than mine.
            Mine cares about other people and thinks that democracy should be fair for everyone.

          • jarheadgene

            Catskinner means he spouts off for AmeriKKKa. !

          • elw

            Oh, Catskinner you are most amusing.

          • davidcayjohnston

            @Catskinner, like many Americans you are seriously misinformed on this. NO ONE needs IRS permission to create a c4 organization. The only groups revoked were Dem/Progressive. Every one of the Tea Party etc groups were approved according to the Inspector General, a former Republican political operative. The IG found that all but 17 groups whose gratitious request for c4 status should have been reviewed intensively and the decision to focus on these applications was made by a self-described conservative Republican because that is what the law required in his (and my) view.

            You can read my various columns on this by searching for my name and c4 or (c)(4) in search engines.

          • Catskinner

            So all of the people testifying before Congress must have been Democrats, I see.

          • davidcayjohnston

            You are being silly.
            The facts are that the people who testified were asked questions (some of them overly intrusive) but the IRS is required by Congress to verify that those who seek c4 status are in fact entitled to it.
            Imagine you submit plans for a building and the city inspector thinks your design will collapse. He is required to investigate before approving the plans. Same thing here.
            The IG found that all but 17 of the organizations should have been vetted — that is, asked to verify their eligibility.

            And none of these groups was blocked from being a c4, which does not require approval. You can, as Karl Rove did with his group, just declare you are a c4 and file the required Form 990 tax form after the fact.

          • Catskinner

            You must not have watched the hearings.

          • Sand_Cat

            You haven’t got a clue; why don’t you give it up.

          • Catskinner

            I don’t give it up because the future of the country depends on it.

          • Sand_Cat

            Yeah, you sound like a guy who really cares about the future of the country.

          • oldtack

            Do you have any concept of 501 c Organizations? do you know how many different categories of 501c’s there are. Do you have any concept of how many applications are received at the IRS weekly? Do you even know the origin and evolution of the 501c4?

            Do you know one whit about anything pertaining to Constitutional Law?

            Do you really know antthing – except TEA PARTY RHETORIC?

          • davidcayjohnston

            @Catskinner:disqus , I watched and I also understood the facts, Did oyu read the IG report (the IG is a former GOP operative)? Did you know the IRS commissioner at the time was a GWBush appointee? Do you know the histort of the law, which dates to a 1913 tariff and a 1959 regulation (GOPer Eisenhower was president)?

            The people who testified were in fact asked questions and were slow getting a response. That is true, but it is incomplete.

            A. No approval is needed to be a c4 so none of these groups was delayed.

            B. All of the Tea Party et all groups were approved,

            C. The only groups revoked were Dem/progressive.

            D. The groups in their applications described themselves in ways that made it possible to highly likely that they were NOT eligible for c$ status. (see my building permit anaology earlier)

            E. Only 17 out of 96 organizations were, the IG concluded, improperly questioned. Of the nearly 300 groups only 96 were TP, etc., groups so a majority scrutinized were not TP or likeminded.

            F. The manager who decided scrutiny was needed, a self-described conservative Republican, who wanted consistent rulings on the OPTIONAL to request certification of c$s.

            G. Do you understand that testimony is just what that person saw, heard or believes and is NOT the actual facts? People testiofy truthfully all the time, but their testimony is skewed or even unreliable because they did not have the full picture. Do you understand that?

          • jarheadgene

            hmmmmm If Karl Rove does ANYTHING…it must be for the greater good of America……he says with complete sarcasm. I’d love to meet that fat little turd someday. HE is the epitome of the NAZI machine that brought HITLER to power.

          • jarheadgene

            YOUR idiocy is showing…….put your blinder back on plop down in front of FOX News.

          • Sand_Cat

            Maybe you “know” this deep in your delusional brain tucked firmly into your rectum, but normal people know no such thing.

          • Catskinner

            People who pay attention to what’s going on in the world do in fact now. However, you make a good point, most Obama voters don’t pay attention.

        • Lorr

          It is the Republican Party that wants the wealthy to thrive, pay low wages, no benefits so they can keep control of the working class people. It is the Republican Party that wants to impose their Religion on all of us. It is the Republican Party that wants to force women to have children they do not want. It is the Republican Party that wants to impose what they believe is morality on the rest of us. It is the Republican Party that wants a Regime, just like they have in Cuba, Vietnam, N. Korea and China.

          • Catskinner

            Yes, I agree, the Republican Party is awful. Not as bad as Obama, but awful all the same.

          • Lorr

            That is your opinion, I do not agree but have a nice weekend.

          • neeceoooo

            Why do you think Obama is bad, is it because he is black.

          • Catskinner

            He just doesn’t seem competent.

          • neeceoooo

            You don’t think that the appearance of incompetence has anything to do with the obstructionist in the republican party? You know they want him to fail, don’t you.

          • Catskinner

            Actually, the policies he’s decided to promote have pretty much described his failure. He didn’t need any help from Republicans.

          • old_blu

            Explain that if you can.

          • neeceoooo

            A lot of his policies are still on the floor of congress waiting for the republicans to vote so how can you say his policies describe his failure?

          • Catskinner

            Obamacare and Comprehensive Immigration Reform are both disastrous for the country.

          • neeceoooo

            As Lorr has pointed out, that is your opinion and opinions are like A– H—es, everyone has one.

            However, I have worked in healthcare for 40 years and I just don’t see it the way you do. THANK GOD!

          • Catskinner

            Yes, and of course my best judgement is what I base my policy choices and votes on, as should every other informed voter.

          • jarheadgene

            In Catskinners AmeriKKKa women shouldn’t get equal pay as Obamma woould like. Not all AmeriKKKans should be entitled to affordable health care.

          • jarheadgene

            OH NO….the G.O.P. is far far far worse. They CLAIM to Love America….but their actions show they HATE AMERICANS !!!

      • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

        Oh, you mean like the working conditions in Texas.

        • FredAppell

          Yep! That scumbag Texas Governor Rick Perry came to my state (Connecticut) the other day trying to lure jobs away from us. Go start your own jobs you POS, leave ours alone.

          • Fern Woodfork

            I Bet He Did :-( He Also Came Here In ( Illinois)A Couple Of Months Ago With The Same Crap!! Then That Plant Blew Up!!

          • FredAppell

            It didn’t cause a big sensation or anything like that. It probably didn’t even make the news papers. As a matter of fact, the only
            way I even found out about it was through NPR as it was happening. Our governor found out about it and apparently showed up to confront Perry. My question is this, if Texas is so wonderful, why not create your own jobs instead of stealing the ones that already exist from other states. If this is normal and happens all the time than shame on them all, including Democratic governors.

          • Fern Woodfork

            We’re On The Same Page My Friend, That Was The First Time That Came To My Mind LOL Why Is Perry And The Rest Of Them Out To Take Companies And Jobs From Other American States If Your State Is So Great Create Your Own!!!

          • FredAppell

            Fern, I have a sickening thought and I admit that it does border
            a bit on the paranoid side. What if Perry is actually trying to build
            enough economic strength so Texas could eventually secede. It sounds crazy, but I don’t trust the guy at all. I’m starting to sound just like the right wing wackos. Texas really has created a business utopia, workers have very few rights while businesses enjoy all the protections.

          • Fern Woodfork

            You Just Might Be Right My Friend!! I So Glad No Company Took His Offer For Here!! :-)

          • FredAppell

            I don’t know what the results will be here, Connecticut is a heavily taxed state. I never minded paying high taxes because we enjoy high standards here but our business community is always bitching. Our state and local government does plenty to make it attractive for large companies but small business can’t compete with the big boys. Anyway, I’m happy to hear that Perry wasn’t able to achieve his goals in your state. That’s very good news and a strong indication that he isn’t trusted.

          • Fern Woodfork

            Believe Me Everybody Seen That Plant Blow Up!! I Doubt If He Get Any Takers!!

          • FredAppell

            I forgot about that! Texas will have no choice, they’ll have to pass new regulations for their industries. Sooner or later the playing field will have to even out. Perry won’t like that much.
            It couldn’t happen to a better person.

          • Fern Woodfork

            Yes!!! LOL

          • FredAppell

            Fern, you are one of a kind. Do me a favor, keep it up. You’re refreshing and appreciated and you got guts. I like that. We’ll talk again, have a great night my friend.

          • Fern Woodfork

            Thank You My Friend!! :-) And Yes I Will Keep Up This Fight Till My Last Breath!!! :-)

  • FredAppell

    Years ago when I was too young to know any better, my former best friend tried to push the notion that automation and digitization of our work force was a good thing and somehow more jobs would be created because of it, that was late 80′s into the mid 90′s.
    I sure would enjoy the chance to have this debate with him now. He wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. It has done wonders for the bottom line but the cost of jobs has been staggeringly high.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      I keep thinking about the time Henry Ford was shown a fully automated (for the 1920s) production line, and how efficient it was to have machines do most of the work. His comment still rings true – How many of these machines will buy what they are making? Ford recognized early on that his own workers had the potential to be his most reliable customers.

      • Dana Es

        Henry Ford was a smart businessman.

      • FredAppell

        You get it, I get it and Henry Ford understood it too. That is a simple economic principle. Forget about Wall St. economics, it’s Main St. that really matters. Your workers will buy your products because they made those products with their blood ,sweat, and tears and it is cyclical.

    • Dana Es

      My husband’s employer decided to bring in robotic equipment to decrease the number of human workers a few years ago. The company thought it was a great idea and invested millions in equipment, money which could have covered the employment of the people who lost their jobs, plus new hires, for years. Well, production went down and damages went up. When the task requires the ability to think, make decisions, and change course, the robots are lost. They provide job security for some people like my husband who have to fix them when they quit or repair the damages they cause, but the jobs they eliminated were done much better, faster, and cheaper by humans. The company was going to convert their other facilities but after seeing the results of their one conversion, they’ve changed their minds. Wonderful for those who are working in the other facilities but sad that the decision came on the backs of lost jobs and lower production in our area.

      • FredAppell

        That’s akin to saying “I quit smoking, but I quit too late and got cancer”.
        It’s unfortunate that sometimes actions come too late to make a difference. Sometimes there is no recovering from misguided and short sighted actions. I wish you and your husband well.

  • charleo1

    If we dare look, we can see very well where this is leading. Just take a look at
    how our marvelous corporations are treating, and paying their workers in other
    places. 150 workers die in a fire, because the doors were locked from the outside.
    Do we really believe they would not treat us in such a manner, if they could?
    But, not to worry. There are more than 2 billion people on this planet, living on less
    than a $1.75 a day. So there will be no shortage of workers to exploit. Soon, they
    may even pick up 150 million more workers, in a town near you. Want to see what
    that looks like? Go to Mexico City, or Rio De Janeiro. You can see the grand houses
    of the ruling class. With their high walls, and contingent of armed body guards.
    Kidnapping is big business. But, most of what I remember so vividly, is the living
    conditions of the destitute. There is none of that Socialism, and 47%, feeling
    as if they are entitled. Or their Government owes them free stuff, like food.
    No Sir. Capitalist, and crooked to the core. But no Socialism. There is no Middle
    either. Maybe a few retired Yanks, and tourists. But the image that never leaves
    me, is the mile after mile of just unbelievable, hard grinding poverty. As Americans,
    we should get out more, see how the other half lives. It might help our politics,
    and bring our priorities into sharper focus.

    • Robert P. Robertson

      Or just go to some small, rural towns in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. It’ll break your heart.

      • charleo1

        Yes Sir, That’s exactly right. Get off the main road a quarter, or
        half mile. Well, it was just today Republicans from these states,
        tried their damnedest to cut 20 billion dollars out of the Food Stamp
        Program. Or, SNAP, I guess it is today. I don’t know how they live
        with themselves.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          They live with the idea they are the elite class and part of that elite circle of the 1%. When do we stop the greed? When do we force corporations to abide by common decency and demand they hire Americans or forfeit their tax revenues they receive from the rest of us? We pay our taxes. They take our taxes and pay their bills with it. Then, when their profits roll in, that’s pure gravy.

          • charleo1

            When do we stop the greed? And, how do we compel these giant corporates to be more responsible entities, in terms of
            paying a living wage, or protecting the environment, or to pay
            enough taxes to offset the staggering public debt, that is,
            in large part, a direct result of their actions. The detrimental impact those practices, and policies, are having on our daily lives, simply cannot be overstated. But, I don’t believe greed is something that can ever be stopped, only controlled, and managed. The profit motive is an essential element in the growth of all businesses. Steve Jobs’, motto was, “Stay hungry.” That, “hunger,” should not lead to becoming a
            parasitic virus, killing it’s host. However, the undeniable truth is, the status quo is unsustainable. That on our present path, most all of our fundamental premises, and principals are under threat, and in danger of being crushed by a corporate culture, that permeates our government. That is destroying the Middle Class. And, our once prosperous economy, right along with it. How we as Americans, respond will be determinate on our abilities to first recognize the danger.
            We can no longer assume the corporate is this benign, smily faced, symbol of American economic power. And our enemy is, a corrupted, dysfunctional government. The government stands as the People’s last line of defense aganist the tyranny of the Plutocrat. If we can be tricked into disabling it, drowning it a bathtub. Starving it into submission. Then the corporatists mission is complete. And the more Americans
            that come to these few, yet essential facts. The quicker we
            begin to reset the imbalances, and bring back the security,
            and prosperity, and opportunities, that rightly belong to
            all of us. And not to only the privileged few.

          • lfernan

            We can demand what ever we want, the politicians don’t have the urge to really push the issue and the wealthy people at the top will just have their lawyers challenge everything in court. We are just an annoyance to the rich, they could care less what we demand.

          • jarheadgene

            But HOW Do we go about it exactly ?? Too many people are buying the lies and half truths ….people like OMG and Taxpayer and even some of my own family that make less than 200K annually and STILL vote the RUPERT MURDOCH Way. They believe in NOT caring for their fellow Americans.

      • neeceoooo

        And those are the people who are most likely to vote republican.

    • FredAppell

      Charleo, we can see that in our very own cities. We used to call them ghettos
      or slums but apparently the term was changed to “inner city” to make it seem less horrible. Roberts right, many of our rural areas are no better. Some have tried to make this a race problem but the shame should be all of ours.

    • Dominick Vila

      I lived and worked in Latin America from 1946 to 1958, and I remember looking on the other side of the chain link fence that separated our house from the “ranchitos” that surrounded us. Those dwellings, made with pieces of cardboard, tin, mud and whatever else the masses could find to protect themselves from the weather and have a little privacy. They only had dirt floors, women fetched water from the nearest fountain, often one or two kilometers from where they lived, and carried it on large containers on their heads. Children played naked, had huge bellies as a result of malnutrition and parasites, and coexisted with a few chicken and an occasional pig.
      I am almost embarrassed to say that my family was among those that lived with everything money could buy, although we never forgot our humble beginnings and did everything we could to help others.
      The problem in Third world countries has nothing to do with socialism, in fact, the conditions that prevailed long ago have improved as a result of socialist initiatives in areas such as education and healthcare, as well as the development of modest but livable dwellings for the masses. The real problem is the feudal system that has existed since the days of the conquest by Spain, Portugal, and other European countries, which has been perpetuated to this day. A few families have all the wealth and control all facets of life, while the masses live in misery. There are a few signs of improvement, Venezuela is an example of that, but much remains to be done and what is happening in some parts of Brazil is a reminder of the injustices that we ignore in favor of focusing on fears of the boogie man that seldom reflect reality and that are often influenced by economic and geo-political goals.

      • Fern Woodfork

        This Is Just What The GOP/Tea Party Members In Offices Has Been Working On All Along!! They Are In Offices Working For The 1% Which They Are, And They Are Destroying The Middle Class And Poor Working People!! :-(

        • Sulla Felix

          You’re an idiot. Who just jacked up taxes? There would be more disposable income if all governments would STOP SPENDING. Lower taxes would increase take home pay as much or more than raising wages.

          BTW, moron, TEA in Tea party, stands for TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY. You can thank the Democrats for spending WITHOUT A BUDGET and increasing taxes to try to cover it.

          Think before you say stupid sh!t.

          • Fern Woodfork

            And You Are A Koch Brothers Ass Sucking Troll!! Pucker Up Bitch And Kiss My Ass!!! You Don’t Let It ?? Then Get Your Shit And Move Bitch We Wont Miss Your Stuck Up Stupid Ass And Take The Tea Party With Your Ass!!!!! By The Way Your Mother Is A Moron Stinking Ass Troll!!!

          • Sulla Felix

            Nothing is funnier than listening to a lib. Is that all you people do? Insult using poor grammar and sentence structure? And you wonder why we’re in such bad shape? People like you, with no clue, voting idiots in like Obama and swallowing their tripe like it’s pure gold.

            You don’t think, you insult. You harass. Threaten. And you wonder why we, who have brains in our heads, are just so sick of it.

            But you won’t listen, no matter what we say. The libs are SO tolerant, as long as everyone believes as you.

            However, please keep talking, the more you say, the dumber you and other libs look, and it will continue to open more eyes to the truth.

            That you are lazy, selfish, and just want the government to take care of you. Good luck with that. At some point, the money will run out, and then what will you do?

          • Fern Woodfork

            I’m A Nurse Bitch I Pay My Taxes And Lots Of Them I Don’t Cry About It Cause If I Don’t Like It I Can Move To Another Country Cause My Skills Are Needed So Speak For Yourself Bitch I Make Plenty Of Money Government Is In No Way Taking Care Of Me Asshole!! So Go Fuck Yourself Bitch!!! People Have Known To Get Fired For What They Post On The Internet I’m To Smart To Get My Ass Fired For Cussing Assholes Like You Out!! This Is The Reason Why I Write The Way I Do DICK Breath!!

          • Sulla Felix

            More anger? I’m shocked. The point is this, I pay, on average, over 50% of what I make (and I make a lot) in taxes. So, think about it. Those who make $15k/yr lose nearly HALF of their income over that year. IN TAXES. Not just Federal, but State, City/County, property, sales, you name it. Now, imagine how much more disposable income they (and you) would have if taxes were lower. Ten percent lower taxes across the board is the same as a ten percent pay raise. When was the last time you got a pay raise that high?

            That’s been my point all along. Wage increases just mean more is taken in taxes. Period. Raising wages 3% means nothing in the face of tax increases. Even a ten percent increase is statistically insignificant in the grand scheme.

            Not that you are listening. Libs hate truth that conflicts with their reality.

          • Fern Woodfork

            You Ass Need To Quit Whining Stop Talking To Me Like I Said I Pay Lots Of Taxes When I Get Tried Of Them I Will Move!! So Move!!! Go Join Snowden In The Russia Airport And Wait For Another Country To Take You In!!! Please Shut The Fuck Up Talking To Me!!!

          • Sulla Felix

            So, you’re saying that instead of pushing to get lower taxes, you’re just going to leave? How noble. Besides, as I said, you didn’t read a word I wrote did you?

            This is why we’re in the shape we’re in, when things get tough, liberals just leave. For the record, trolls are usually the ones cursing and being inflammatory. I simply state truth. So who is really the troll?

          • Fern Woodfork

            What Part Of Stop Talking To Me You Are Not Understanding???? You Don’t Like Your Taxes MOVE!!!! You Are A TROLL I Have Asked You To Stop Talking To Me And Yet Here You Are TROLL I Have A Low Tolerant For Bullies And Asshole Whiners!! MOVE!!!!

      • sigrid28

        We need accounts like yours to help us understand two things. First, amid conditions of enormous income inequality–the Venezuela of your youth and, increasingly, the United States of your maturity–those who succeed are only a hair’s breadth from crossing from one side of the fence to the other. You and your family should be credited for insisting on your humanity despite the frightening instability that dominated in Venezuela at the time–and that may, unbelievable, come to dominate here in the U.S. if we are not vigilant. Second, your role of leadership on the National Memo comment threads is based on intelligence and understanding that are derived, in part, from living so close to the chain link fence, from looking over it

        • Robert P. Robertson

          Very insightful post, my friend, very insightful.

          • sigrid28

            I also always read your posts, Mr. Robertson.

        • Dominick Vila

          I appreciate your comment very much. Most importantly, I appreciate your insightful observations. The experiences we encounter during our lives influence our character and our convictions, and give us a perspective into the vicissitudes that are an integral part of life in Third World and developing countries that is often absent in the debates that take place in Washington.

          Income inequality and the absence of hope were, indeed, pervasive until not too long ago. The most surprising part is that the horrible circumstances I witnessed did not happen in impoverished countries, but in a country with huge natural resources.

          In all fairness, I must point out that in addition to a greedy and uncaring elite, our own corporations contributed to the malaise by allowing and, sometimes, encouraging the abuses of power that influenced and allowed the untenable conditions I saw. Thankfully, things have been changing and hope for a better life and a better future is evident at all levels of society.
          I doubt our country will ever experience similar conditions, but there is no doubt that the efforts to undermine the effectiveness of organized labor, government policies that favor the accumulation of wealth by those who already own 2/3 of our wealth, loopholes, subsidies to corporations that don’t need them to grow and profit, and our inability or unwillingness to prevent the wealthy from using tax shelters to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, are all widening the schism between the very wealthy and the middle class. As for the poor, they are the “demons” so eloquently described as part of an unworthy 47%.

      • oldtack

        My wife and I spend a lot of time in Nicaragua and the scenario is the same. Most of the “ruling” class have roots in Europe or America. The natives still sell cashews, water and such in the traffic and they live in cinder block and scrap wood hovels while just a short distance away the elite have large homes, maids, cooks, gardeners, drivers and – 24 hour
        guard protection. While the native children selll in the traffic, the children of the elite are educated at some of our best prep schools and Universities. This is not the result of Socialism – this is the result of Feudalism. Nicaragua is a great little Country with some of the best hard working people one could hope to meet. They just happen to have the most corrupt elitist system imaginable.

        • Dominick Vila

          Our tendency to categorize socio-economic issues, especially when they pertain to foreign countries, as being caused by either socialist or capitalist policies, don’t help matters and often trivialize problems that deserve attention and resolution.
          An example of this is what is happening in Spain. After several decades of unprecedented growth, investment, and spending, its economy collapsed in 2008, along with that of other countries as a result of the great recession and for reasons not too dissimilar to what we experienced. The difference between our ability to overcome the difficulties we encountered and the inability of other countries to do the same is limited, mostly, to effective governance and the fact that we have a diversified and powerful economy. Part of the problem for Spain woes involves the fact that their economy depends, largely, on agriculture, tourism and construction. When the last two pillars collapsed in 2008 the economy of that country went irreversibly down. Add to that the fact that Spanish banks had engaged in highly speculative investments, including securities, and it is not too difficult to understand why Spain had to borrow over $60B to bailout their banks. Not surprisingly, most Americans have been led to believe that the reason countries like Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece are still having tremendous economic problems is because of their socialist programs. With the exception of one of those countries, that is simply not true. If anything, those socialist programs, which are rapidly evaporating, softened the blow and allowed the unemployed to subsist and live with a modicum of dignity. Obviously, those programs are not going to save the day. The economic recovery of those countries depends on foreign and domestic investment. Unfortunately, instead of investment the focus has been an austerity plan that destroyed what was left of the economy of those countries by increasing the rate of unemployment and depriving the government of the funds it needs to stimulate the economy. There is a lesson to be learned somewhere in there, but I doubt Tea Party supporters will be interested in considering the value of learning from the experiences of others.

          • oldtack

            Thanks DV

      • charleo1

        That’s exactly what more people need to actually see, and take
        into consideration, That the wealth disparity here is approaching
        third world proportions. That such things as the Right Wing
        ideologues ascribe to a growing dependency on the government,
        that is destroying the work ethic. Is in reality, a symptom of larger structural problems within the economy, that is responsible for
        pushing the formerly self supporting lower Middle Class, into poverty.
        And, thus causing the need for more public assistance. Yet, even
        as this is clearly the case. Yesterday, the T-Party sent the Farm Bill
        down to defeat, because they felt the 20 billion dollar cut to the Food Stamp program, was not near deep enough. As one by one they took
        to the airwaves, each parroting the same alleged, “Bible verse.”
        “He that does not work, neither shall he eat.” Sounds to me a lot like
        something the Germans would hang over the entrance to one of their
        concentration camps. Than something that should be coming out of
        the mouths of American politicians.

        • Dominick Vila

          A lot of biblical verses are the anti-thesis of what Christianity is all about. Obviously, they are reflection of the conditions and values that existed a couple of millennia ago. Considering the excuses being used to justify inhumane cuts in social programs, I think it is fair to say that there are caveats to the theory of evolution.

          • charleo1

            Yes. Evidentially there are members of our species that for
            some reason, missed the evolutionary boat. Probably due to
            their refusals to believe there was such a boat. Al Franken,
            in his book, “Lies, And The Lying Lairs That Tell Them.”
            Describes the Jesus, the Evangelical, Fundamentalist’s must
            be worshipping as, “Supply side Jesus.” Who didn’t feed
            the multitudes with a few fishes, and a couple of loaves of
            bread. Because, “Supply side Jesus,” thought to do so,
            would send the wrong message to the poor. If he started
            giving them food, it would promote the idea they don’t need
            to work. And before you know it, they would all be just
            laying around, waiting for someone to feed them.

  • Budjob

    This reply is directed at Clarence Swinney.You state “we must all sacrifice to help regain economic growth not just wealth growth at the top”.I couldn’t agree more with you except,the working poor,the elderly,and in many cases the minorities in this once great country have sacrificed more than they should have already! As an after thought,none of those bastards in congress has sacrificed one Goddamn thing!They need to start working for all the perks,gratuities,and their $174,000 yearly salary.Their two day a week work schedule must be abolished for starters!!!

    • Lorr

      When the Republicans were pandering to their base on Capital Hill this week, Michelle Bachman said – “if they do not work, they do not eat.” Well since Congress has not worked for 4 1/2 years than they should not have eaten for 4 1/2 years.

      • Dana Es

        Gee whiz. Then there shouldn’t be any overweight members of Congress. Some of them must be cheating!

      • midway54

        And what a gathering of rightwing, unspeakable scoundrels it was as they irresponsibly and mendaciously ranted on behalf of the plutocrats to a cheering and enthusiastically applauding crowd of mentally deficient disciples.

  • itsfun

    The real crisis in America is getting any politician (Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, etc.) to tell the truth, and actually get something done to help Americans. Millions more going to the cannibals in Syria, while our country cannot afford to allow White House tours.

    • Sand_Cat

      Have to agree.

  • Catskinner

    If they think wages are falling now, wait and see what happens after this disastrous Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill goes through.

    • tax payer

      If you are looking for work and you have a GED, and your competition has a High School Diploma than ( you won’t ) get that job. If you are an American citizen and you are also looking for a job, and your competition is an illegal than ( you won’t ) get that job. How’s that for letting these Fools give our country away in a Silver Platter to the illegals.

      • Catskinner

        You’re right, tax payer. You’re absolutely right.

        • old_blu

          No he’s not he’s full of shit and has been throughout this thread, there are no illegals working in my shop. In fact you’re both full of shit!! You’re welcome.

          • Fern Woodfork

            LOL You Got That Right Two Floating Water Turds Who Needs To Flushed!! LOL You Tell Them My Friend!! :-)

      • jarheadgene

        ONCE again…….How about this ? What job? The jobs of the people crushed to death making cheap clothing for Disney. Not done in America. Or maybe your talking about the jobs to make APPLE products for $1.75 hr. with such a high stress level the barracks, the workers live in, have nets to catch the suicidal jumpers and protect the workers walking below. Not done in America. Or the jobs that BAIN corp has….NOT in America. Oh what about the jobs to produce Grade 1 locks for Ingersoll Rand….Not in America. What jobs? The giveaway is to foreign countries for cheaper labor.

        • tax payer

          The way it sounds to me there are no jobs in America, so the people that are working now ( aren’t getting paid ) and must be volunteering to work free of pay.

          • jarheadgene

            Ummmm that would be even too much for the Koch and Walmart siblings to dream about. Please try not to give them more ideas.

        • angelsinca

          “The giveaway is to foreign countries for cheaper labor”

          When blue collar limited skills workers started getting over $40/hr along with very comfy pensions, everyone should have seen this coming. Now, as the numbers are actually being run and the cost of foreign labor and transport continues to rise, those mfg jobs are returning. Unfortunately, those skilled wotrkers are no longer around. and/or are being replaced by automation.

    • charleo1

      There will be no comprehensive immigration reform. Just like there will be
      no jobs Bill or budget passed, or any tax reform, coming out of what has
      become the disastrous, and ongoing, train wreck, of leadership, that is the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. A good example of
      just how bad, was put on full display yesterday, with the Farm Subsidy Bill, going down in flames. Because it could not be made generous enough to corporate agriculture, to suit the T-Party. And because even main stream Republicans, refused to cut more than 20 billion dollars out of the SNAP Program. A number seen by the T-Party as far too small, for them to bring themselves to support. Even if it was brought to the floor by their own Speaker, and endorsed by the leadership of the Republican caucus. Ungovernable, was the most used word in politics yesterday. So, there will be no immigration reform. And, one fine day, maybe not in the too distant future, the political costs of supporting such fanatics, as the T-Party will come due. And it will be a victorious day, for not only Americans. But a triumph of democracy itself, in preventing the kind of Country, and World, such people as these, always attempt to create. Even you, when you’re
      a bit older, and a bit wiser. May come to count that day in retrospect, as
      one of the finest days of your life.

      • Catskinner

        It went down in flames because is was giving away too much in food stamps.

        • charleo1

          Yes, I know! 20 billion in cuts was not enough.
          What the poor need to learn, is when they drive the
          economy in the ditch with non transparent, mortgage
          backed securities. And their house of cards collapses
          around them. They can’t be looking to the taxpayers
          to feed their children, until they get back on their feet.
          That’s outrageous! Wouldn’t you say?

          • Catskinner

            When they finish the 7-11 investigation, I’ll be happy to discuss it further.

      • angelsinca

        There is a disasterous leadership train wreck in the happening, Charles. But, your target is all wrong.

  • Dominick Vila

    Several factors contribute to the lower wages and lack of benefits that prevail in some sectors of our economy. They are due, in part, to the availability of cheap foreign labor in countries like Bangladesh, the outsourcing of many factory jobs overseas to take advantage of favorable labor conditions to maximize profits, but also because of a large pool of semi-skilled and unskilled workers at home. The unacceptable number of high school dropouts, the large percentage of young Americans who don’t go to college or even a trade school, has created a surplus of semi-skilled workers willing to accept menial work, earning a little more than minimum wage, with no benefits as a result of not having marketable skills.

    The problem is further aggravated by the fact that many of those unskilled workers are unwilling to accept jobs in agriculture and other sectors because they believe they are demeaning and unworthy, not to mention the fact that quite often employers in those sectors don’t even pay minimum wage.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, those affected by this unfortunate circumstance take out on illegal immigrants, and ignore the fact that tens of thousands of foreign professional are getting the jobs we should aspire to have.

    • Dana Es

      As the granddaughter, daughter, and wife of Union members, as a former volunteer adult literacy tutor, and as someone whose relatives’ skills and intelligence levels varied greatly, seeing what’s happened and happening in labor here is disheartening. My husband and I saw it coming years ago with the various lopsided trade agreements, corporate greed overtaking any kind of loyalty to American workers, and a changing job market while some people were still clinging to that 4-year degree idea, no matter what the degree was, and believing that piece of paper was going to open doors.

      I’m not sure if there are any good solutions, but attitude changes and people power might help some. Time to stop voting for members of Congress whose pockets are lined by Big Business. Time to change some tax and other laws to make it less profitable for companies to outsource. Time to look at what education and training is needed for the the jobs of today. (Parents, that Liberal Arts degree might make YOU feel good, but the plumbing or welding training is not only going to get your child a job but probably a good income. Deal with it!) And time to figure out the best way to help those for whom a changing world is especially difficult. There are always some left behind. Let’s not totally walk away from them.

    • angelsinca

      “those affected by this unfortunate circumstance take it out on illegal immigrants, and ignore the fact that tens of thousands of foreign professional are getting the jobs we should aspire to have”

      So, they should take it out on the foreign ‘professionals’? JK. I still do not understand why Obama has pushed hard for relaxing visa requirements for educated foreign workers. I just called an agency hired by Colorado Department of Revenue last week to discuss a wage garnishment issue (due to an error on their part). I could barely understand the person speaking from India.

      • Dominick Vila

        No, we should not take it out on anybody and, instead, reflect on the root causes of our problems and do something constructive to correct them. For starters, consider getting the education or training needed to fill the many vacancies that do exist in the USA, instead of dropping out of high school and spending our lives blaming the boogieman for our shortcoming and the effects of our decisions.
        Semi-skilled workers, as well as foreign professionals, don’t come here to impose their will on us, they come because we are either unwilling to do certain jobs or because we don’t qualify for the best jobs our economy has to offer.

    • Ian C Johnson

      I largely agree with you Dominick Vila, albeit with one small caveat. Even the wages of the jobs occupied by ‘foreign professionals’ are not increasing. You hear people about the lack of engineers and those with highly technical skills, but the wage in these jobs are not increasing either! There needs to be more motivation to go through 4+ years of difficult rigorous schooling. Instead wages continue to fall, and congress is willing to triple the number of H1b visas.

      Secondly, even college graduates of the past 5 years are really struggling. Underemployment is sky rocketing. Even grads are taking these menial jobs that do not offer a living wage, let alone enough to pay down the student loans.

      • Dominick Vila

        The salaries our corporations are paying to professionals, whether they are American citizens or foreigners that enter the USA with H1b visas have not kept pace with our cost of living during the last 10 years or so, but the earnings potential and advancement opportunities for those professionals remain well above average.

        My eldest son is a mathematician. He worked for a large software company for 16 years, and specialized in network architecture design. He started his own business about 3 months ago and he would have been affected by the tax rate increases that were proposed last year had they been implemented.
        A good education is the key for success, but it is not limited to a college career, people with a good trade have a much earnings potential as people that go to college. The real key is relevant experience, work ethics, ambition, and willingness to work very long hours and take risks if you start your own business.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    In a morning report 6/21/13 on a NJ radio station, it was reported that NJ is No. 4 in handouts to businesses that totals $1.5 billion. It’s obvious this $1.5 billion isn’t going to small businesses but the big bois who demand reduction in taxes just to locate in this state. But the real lies are from the NJ Economic Commission who stated that handing out $1.5 billion of NJ tax dollars to businesses helps the NJ economy by creating jobs…That’s about as big a lie as there is. NJ lags so far behind in job creation because there’s NO reason to create jobs when employers make workers desperate to keep their jobs up to and including working more hours for less.

    This has to stop. Taxpayers in every state of the union have every right to know how their tax dollars are spent…in black and white. And that includes billions handed out to corporations earning billions in profit who don’t hire first in THIS country. That’s an obscenity and gross extortion of tax dollars. We give our tax revenues to corporations who profit handsomely while ignoring their responsibility to create jobs in THIS country..not China, not India, Thailand or Mexico.

    Taxpayers hold the power. Not Congress…not money hungry crony capitalists or their sidler politicians. Taxpayers need to start doing what CEOs do…demand, demand, demand…Start with demanding your politicians set these corporate profiteers straight…No hire of Americans first? No tax revenues from taxpayers. Does anyone want to bet that a national petition for this wouldn’t be a real wake up call to profiteers and politicians?

    • sigrid28

      It’s a good start.

    • davidcayjohnston

      @ Eleanore Whitaker, you can read about this in great and infuriating detail in my last two books, The Fine Print, which came out last year, and Free Lunch, which came out in 2007.

      The NJ situation is vastly worse than you imagine and includes the state gifting billions of dollars from customers to the state’s electric utilities.

      Except for one brief and incomprehensible piece in one NJ newspaper, these massive gifts have not been reported in NJ paper despite my best efforts to get them to to do so.

    • plc97477

      most tax payers can’t afford their own representative. They are somewhat expensive.

  • 788eddie

    Those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat it.

    When there have been very large gaps between the wealthiest and the poorest, and the poor begin to lose hope, bad things happen.

    I wonder how the people felt in the historical period leading up to the French and the Russian revolutions.

    I have a bad feeling about this.

    • oldtack

      Your first sentence should be read and heeded by all. We are indeed seieng a repeat of history. I refer you to Germany in 1919. There were dissident groups protesting the post war government. One group was “The German Workers Party” operating under the guise of “Concerned Christians”. One of the Government employees investigating these groups was an ex-soldier, Adolph Hitler. Hitler liked what he saw in this organization – resigned his job and joined this movement. This movement was anything but a “Christian” movement but they used that to delude the general public.Their aim was to stir up the people and get some of their members into the Government. This they did. In 1919 and 1920 their small numbers grew and they violently protested every attempt by Von Hindenburg to pass any legislation. Hitler and some of the leaders went to prison for a while but were soon in the midst of the fray again. Constant protests and blockage of any government attempt to pass meaningful legislation continued and in 1927 the entire economic system of the Germany collapsed. Out of the chaos rose Adolph Hitler and his new National Socialist Party (still masquerading under the guise of Christian principles.) In 1932 he was President then Supreme leader. By 1933 he and the NAZI Party were in complete control and everyone walked lock step with the dictates of the party or suffered the consequences. Be reminded – not all that died in concentration or labor camps were Jews – many were German citizens that dared question the Party. Now go back and trace the roots and progress of the TEA Party. At their present rate the entire Economic structure of this Country will collapse in about 21/2 years.
      History does -indeed- repeat itself.

      • jarheadgene

        EXACTLY why we ALL have to VOTE OUT every TEA PARTY and REPUBLICAN (American Taliban) there is THAT is where START..,THAT is where we make our Peaceful stand !!!!

        • oldtack

          agree

          • Fern Woodfork

            Amen!!

          • oldtack

            Hello Fern. Keep up the good work.

          • Fern Woodfork

            You Too My Friend !! :-)

          • Fern Woodfork

            You Too My Friend We Must Keep This Fight Up Daily!! If Not We’re Doomed!!

          • Fern Woodfork

            You Too My Friend!! :-) We Have To Keep Up The Fight Or We Are All Doomed!!

        • Fern Woodfork

          Agree!!

    • angelsinca

      LET THEM EAT CAKE!

      BTW: The president and first lady are set to arrive in Africa this week to kick off their much deserved, long awaited, all time most expensive vacation in history. They brought their own chefs so we don’t have to worry about them not having enough cake.

  • old_blu

    Thank you David Johnston for that bit of information I had not heard anything about.
    I’ll bet Wally World and the Koch brothers are very happy. I’m glad I don’t buy anything from them.
    Maybe there is something to what the far right is saying when they talk about the “lamestream media” (not that I agree with anything they say).

    • neeceoooo

      I agree, I have not shopped at wallyworld for years and Kock brothers can …… well you know.

      • plc97477

        Does it have anything to do with kissing something?

        • neeceoooo

          You got it plc

          • Fern Woodfork

            LOL Pucker Up!! LOL

    • angelsinca

      “Thank you David Johnston for that bit of information I had not heard anything about.”

      This has been common knowledge to conservative media foillowers since 2008. But since ‘FoxNew lies’, it was missed by most non-conservatives. You won’t get this information at WalMart or the evil Koch bros or George Soros. Trading Places was a fair one dollar bet on the effect of one’s environment, but they missed the part about being corrupted by power.

  • midway54

    Things are going quite well for the plutocracy in labor costs, especially in an atmosphere of declining union membership in large measure resulting from the demonization of labor unions by rightwing propagandists and by the current anti-union state of labor law. It is not. I am afraid, beyond reason to suggest that if there should come a time, the way things are going, when a horde of long-term unemployed should appear in order to compete for a relative handful of jobs, some of the more desperate among them might resort to bidding against one another for a wage attractive to the potential employer, amounting to a race to the bottom. Right now, the unconscionable effort is underway to severely restrict food stamps and the amount and duration of unemployment insurance coverage. (All the dupes who are posting on here can now begin cheering their rightwing idols for their patriotism in removing the alleged threat of socialism to our American way and insisting that all citizens in financial distress through no fault of their own simply fend for themselves).

  • elw

    The truth is we have a trickle-up society; money and life style are slowly and steadily taken from those who are poorer to give to the very rich. That one percent owns everything, everything we eat, wear, live in, and even our medical care is controlled by one percent of the population. We work for them and they resent what they pay us so cut it in every way they can. They cut your income, your time off, sick pay and make
    you pay more for the healthcare coverage they claim to provide, just so they can keep their extra boats and cars. Welcome to Ronald Reagan’s world of finance and where in the hell is Robin Hood?

    • angelsinca

      “where in the hell is Robin Hood?”

      Can’t say for sure, but our family income has been steadily declining for the past 5 years, exactly as described in the article. I believe the one callng himself Robin Hood is actually robbing the middle class, while cozying up to the wealthy, in order to finance his clandestine agenda that involves eliminating all political opposition, decreasing dependence on foreign fuel & goods, and increasing dependence on the government. Mission almost accomplished.

  • omgamike

    If things do not change very soon, the people will take to the streets. The failure of our politicians to see this is incredible. One begins to catch the scent of revolution in the air.

    • neeceoooo

      When you speak of revolution, I am reminded of the generation from the 60′s, we all thought we could change the world and we sought to do that. We need another generation of that caliber.

      • omgamike

        I am also of that generation — and we did change the world, for the better. The problem is that we didn’t learn from the mistakes we helped to eradicate. And now they are coming back to haunt us yet again. I don’t think that the current generation has that same passion as we did. They need someone or something, to reignite that passionate flame, to provide the necessary spark that will send the people back to the streets with their signs of protest. The stakes now are even more challenging than they were before — and the pain we will all feel will be much greater.

        • neeceoooo

          I thought maybe we had it with the occupy movement but it just didn’t get the support that it needed or at least the passion that was needed. But, yes we did change the world and I wish something could ignite that passion again.

          • omgamike

            The Occupy movement was defeated because the government helped to unite and organize police departments in all the affected cities and provided them with the intelligence they needed to shut them all down, almost at the same time. What we need is for the OWS people to start up again, all over the country, but this time with a lot more people, people willing to be arrested for acts of civil disobedience. Then maybe the politicians will get the message that it is time to do their jobs, to act for the betterment of the entire country, not just the top one or two percent.

          • Fern Woodfork

            Another Problem That The OWS Had Was Thugs Bended In With Them And Was Causing Chaos Which Bought The Police!! :-(!!

          • omgamike

            Thugs, anarchists and homeless people. Yes, that’s true. I believe that the majority of them were brought in, or induced to go in, by the various police and/or intelligence departments, both city, state and federal. When you want to start a war with another country, you covertly start trouble in the other country that is directed at you, then blame them for it, giving you the excuse you were looking for to start a war. The solution to that is massive civil disobedience, unrelenting and provoking, until all of our bought and paid for politicians are forced to sit up and take notice.

          • Fern Woodfork

            I Wouldn’t Put It Pass Them But I Do Know That A Lot Of Them Was Breaking In Stores And Causing All Kinds Of Damage And I Don’t Think Police, Government Intelligent, City And State Had Nothing To Do With These Thugs!!! :-(

    • old_blu

      When??

  • jarheadgene

    WHAT this article says is ….MITT Romney, Paul Ryan, the Koch Bros, the WalMart siblings, John Boehner, Rupert Murdoch, FOX news AND ALL THE Puppet GOP that follow = 1 …….Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, ALL RATIONAL caring Americans = 0.

  • ORAXX

    The Reagan administration marked the first time since the great depression the standard of living for American workers fell, and that standard of living has been under constant attack since. This country is digging its own grave.

  • howa4x

    We should call this country the land of the free and greedy. Greed dominates every aspect of life and it has found it’s way from the board rooms to the houses of worship and into the halls of congress. Televangelists rake in millions and preach the gospel of giving especially to them. Not one of them has railed as Jesus did, against income inequality. Ivy league colleges have completely priced out the middle class to perpetuate another generation of greedy people. Although the republicans are mean spirited about unsuccessful people they call takers, the democrats are no angles when it comes to bailing out the biggest banks and not making the boards take a loss. Our entire system is corrupt. We will not be beaten by an outside enemy, but will rot from with in. Psychological studies have shown that the well off show no compassion when looking at the human tragedy they have caused. The tea party is the stupidest of all. They support these oligarchs while slashing taxes for them and services for the needy. I wish they were only just stupid, but they are the meanest most uncaring people who have the nerve to say everything they do is in the name if Christ. A savior whose message they completely don’t understand. When their children suffer from the real cause of our stagnation and not the made up villains that the Koch bros invent, they will be the class clowns of politics for voting against their own families well being. Wake up tea party they can manufacture with out you now. They can make more money with robots, but isn’t that what you tealiban want, them to make more and you and the rest of the middle class to earn less. That is the republican way.

  • jointerjohn

    “There are only to kinds of workers in this world: those who have a unIon and those who need one” – John Dreher 1972

  • irishtap

    This is the plan, to bring the ‘so called middle class’, to it’s knees. Turn us into corporate chattel, while they continue to propagandize us with the untruth that we supposedly live in the “greatest country on Earth”. Aside from the troublesome numbers which of course plague our lives, we should acknowledge the author for bringing them to light. Mr. Johnston, is a registered Republican, which makes his “concise and honest” reporting for the benefit of citizens rare and all the more poignant. While easy – we must not continue to paint all Republicans with the same brush. Many of them are aghast at the fall of their party to ‘cult status’.

  • http://plus.google.com/u/0/111051039748078110427/about novenator

    This is why appeasing Wall Street and continuing failed Trickle Down economics is futile. You can never satiate greed for very long until it’s not enough. You have to expose greed for the parasitical, shameful disease it is and fight it head on.

  • angelsinca

    From the article, “From 2009 to 2011 the top 1 percent got 121 percent of all the gains,”. Not sure how you can get more than 100% of the gains. Surly he meant the top realized 121% gain in wealth. The loss a wage gains for the 99% still rests squarely on the most present job growth being minimum wage positions, and the reluctance to hire due to uncertainity regarding Obamacare, carbon controls, and whatever else this administration concocts to make business skittish. Whatever the ‘trickle down’ economics model didn’t do, the present (lack of sound) economic policy is doing less.

  • frank1569

    Here’s the thing: up to 70% of our economy is over-consumption supported.

    Meanwhile, for the first time in history we – even us poor folk earning only $500/wk – have more than enough food, shelter, clothing, energy, and stuff. Maybe not the best stuff, but tons of it. So much so, the majority of us are fat/obese, both physically and materialistically. We couldn’t consume more even if we wanted to, and more and more of us are choosing to live with less as we realize Earth’s resources are finite and imperiled.

    In other words, more jobs and higher wages will solve nothing, because The Age of Over Consumption is ending, which means our greed-based Modern Capitalist economic system is destined for total collapse. Instead of wasting time trying to come up with ways to heal the terminally ill, we need to figure out what system comes next and start implementing it before all hell breaks loose.

  • sevenof9fl

    Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. When poor people finally have had enough, there won’t be enough rich people to hold back the angry masses and it won’t take much longer for that to happen. The rich can allow “redistribution of income” through fair and peaceful means such as taxes and wage increases, or at the end of a gun through force, and it will only take about one and a half more generations of declining wages for it to happen at the end of a gun. I don’t know what these Corporate CEO’s are thinking, I guess they’re only thinking about today’s profit and the Porsche sitting in their driveway. They might want to start thinking about their kids and grand-kids lives. And I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I am a History Major.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Look, taxpayers have far more clout than their dare give themselves credit for. In the early history of the US, no politician made a decision without taxpayer approval.

    You want to really stop the greed among corporate thieves? Demand your government cut out every dime in tax subsidies if these companies won’t hire, won’t follow common decency and pay living wages and stop price gouging to fatten their paychecks.

    Taxpayers someone since Reagan became the sole support of corporations who now cannot live without those tax subsidies…So they claim. We all learn to cut when we have to. Force this issue into the faces of taxpayers. No corporation gets a dime in funding if they hire offshore or outside the US FIRST. It’s their call and OURS.

  • http://mohammeddressup.com/ I Zheet M’Drawz

    Obviously the way to solve this problem is to off shore more US jobs & bring in H1-B workers to fill jobs inside the US.
    The Mitt Romney plan for success this is.

    • angelsinca

      Yet, we are following, and are effected by Obama’s plan, not Romney’s.

  • pantmaker

    Great article and kudos for your articulate response to the “criticism” over at Bonddad blog. Those guys regularly pick fights with “actual” writers and journalists because it provides them the false sense that they run in the same circles.

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