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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/30/17

Happy New Year, Sure, But Why Aren't Wages Soaring?

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Message Frank Stricker

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Happy New Year, Sure, But Why Aren't Wages Soaring? Frank Stricker

The official unemployment rate is 4.1%. That's full employment for mainstream economists. We'd expect to see wages on a long upward path, as employers compete for new hires. But average pay rises one month and falls the next. You may read that it increased 2%+ in the last twelve months, but after inflation is accounted for, much of the increase disappears. Higher minimum wage laws have helped in some places, but for the nation as a whole wages are not on the up-escalator.

President Trump tells us he is fixing everything. But from the inauguration through November, the average real hourly wage of a rank-and-file employee increased half a percent. If she was earning $20.00 an hour in January; she's earning $20.10 today. And the long-term trend is truly depressing. Real pay today is about where it was in 1972-1973. The U.S. added tons of new income and wealth, but not much filtered down.

To get insight into the wage problem and its causes, I sent our intrepid Untrained Economist (UE) to talk to Republican House Member and Freedom Caucus leader, Jordan Rabid.

Untrained Economist (UE): "Are you Republicans going to reward your working-class supporters by raising the federal minimum wage? It's just $7.25 and lifting it to $15 would help 40 million workers."

Rep. Rabid: "Higher minimum wages are a job-killer. You should know that."

UE: "Many studies show that lifting the minimum wage doesn't kill jobs or only a few, and that it cures a lot of poverty. It creates jobs too, because people buy more things and services."

Rep. Rabid: "We believe people should work harder, be more disciplined, go to church, stay married. That's what our President stands for."

UE: "I guess you don't want to encourage unionization, which raises pay and benefits?"

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Frank Stricker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

ProfessorEmeritus of History, Labor and Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills; board member of National Jobs for All Coalition.
Author of Why America Lost the War on Poverty--and How to win it (Univ. of (more...)
 

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