stagnant wages

It’s not just a ‘lost decade’, it’s a lost two decades. Via Census Bureau.

Stagnant wages, as coporate profits hit record highs, is textbook income inequality.

onlylonelyglory  asked:

i want you to know that because of your recents tw reblogs i have gotten back into reading fic and NOW THIS HAPPENS GOD NO I DON'T WANT IT BUT I DO??????? (not the show though, that can fuck off but definitely more fics that end with a HAPPY SOFT AND GOOD DEREK HALE LIFE??????)

I don’t know what to say other than I’M SORRY. I’m sorry that I helped reinfect you. I managed to get clean for awhile, but then I fell off the wagon last year and now I’m causing other people to hurl themselves back into the trashpile??????? MEA VERY CULPA.

But seriously, I have long felt that every scene of Derek bleeding and/or being electrocuted and/or being made to feel guilt feelings and/or watching everything and everyone he loves die screaming should be matched with a MINIMUM of 37 new fanfics where he worries about Important Issues such as the following:

-Is he using fabric softener correctly??????
-Since he is A Millennial, is he to blame for the housing market? It is true that he does like avocado toast, and that he does not want to buy a new house, but they are unrelated, inasmuch as his feelings on the second matter are more related to the “everyone he loves dies screaming” history rather than a problem with student loans and stagnant wages
-He doesn’t want the new AirBuds, he prefers having an actual cord, because he just knows that if he has an accidental backflip situation one of them will fall out
-Why don’t his kale chips come out right? He is following the recipe!!! He has seen Cora make them and he is doing everything she does! What is he doing wrong????
-He feels like the chipotle mayo at his favorite deli has changed, and he isn’t sure what is different, and he kind of wants to ask about it but he’s not sure if he’s “there yet” when it comes to chatting with service employees like a normal person
-why can’t he find that video of an elephant painting a painting? He watched it just a few weeks ago, and now he can’t remember how he found it the first time, and it is super frustrating
-there is a cat that lives outside his building, and it looks like she is maybe pregnant, and he is worried that she won’t be able to find a nice warm and dry space to have her babies, but he isnt sure what to do about it
-agribusiness practices

The consolidation of surplus value of labor is funneled away from workers as wages are stagnant, and those profits are given to shareholders and CEOs. All this consolidation as reckless tax cuts are given to those same shareholders/CEOs

youtube

DEAR TRUMP VOTER

If you voted for Donald Trump, I get it. Maybe you feel you’ve been so badly shafted by the system that you didn’t want to go back to politics as usual, and Trump seemed like he’d topple that corrupt system. 

You voted to change our country’s power base – to get rid of crony capitalism and give our government back to the people who are working, paying taxes, and spending more just to survive. Lots of Americans agree with you. 

But now, the president is turning his back on that idea and the many changes he promised.

He did not drain the swamp. After telling voters how he would take control away from special interests, he has surrounded himself with the very Wall Street players he decried. Now, those who gamed politicians for tax loopholes and laws that reward the rich don’t even have to sneak around with backroom deals. 

Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell and others from Wall Street, as well as corporate lobbyists by the dozens, are now inside the Trump administration rigging the system for the extremely wealthy from the inside. 

They want to make it easier for banks to once again gamble with your money and repeat our financial crisis. They want to cut health care for millions of you. They want to lower taxes on corporations and the rich. They want to get rid of rules that stop corporations from harming your health or safety. 

That’s not the change you were promised.

Make America Great Again? The Trump administration wants to expand on policies that have kept American wages stagnant for almost four decades. Huge corporations and billionaires get the breaks, and hard working Americans once again get left waiting for the crumbs. That’s not the change you were promised.

Bringing back fiscal responsibility? The Secret Service budget is skyrocketing to protect his family on international business trips, ski vacations, and separate New York City living quarters. 

At the same time, the president still refuses to untangle himself from his businesses and prove he’s not leveraging our government for his financial gain. You’re paying for his lifestyle while he’s doing nothing to help yours. 

That’s not the change you were promised.

theguardian.com
One in eight workers struggle to afford food, finds TUC survey
Report released before annual congress exposes in-work poverty, with people skimping on food and heating despite having jobs
By Rajeev Syal

Stagnant wages are forcing one in eight workers to skip meals to make ends meet, according to a study.

A survey of more than 3,200 workers for the Trades Union Congress also found almost half are worried about meeting basic household expenses such as food, transport and energy. The poll, conducted by GQR, also found that one in six workers have left the heating off when it was cold to save on energy bills, while a similar number have pawned possessions in the last year because they were short of money.

medium.com
the three hot trends in Silicon Valley horseshit – Freddie deBoer – Medium
For a long time I told the same basic joke about Silicon Valley, just updating as some new walled garden network replicated long-existing…
By Freddie deBoer

This is the type of company that has become inescapable in NYC subway advertising. Not coincidentally the time I spend contemplating stepping in front of the train to enjoy the sweet oblivion of death is also up dramatically. There’s legit dozens of these companies out there.

The basic idea here is that 40 years of stagnant wages, the decline of unions, the death of middle class blue collar jobs, the demise of pensions, and a general slide of the American working world into a PTSD-inducing horror show of limitless vulnerability has been too easy on workers. I’m sorry, Doers, or whatever the fuck. The true beauty of these ads is that they are all predicated on mythologizing the very workers who their service is intended to immisserate. Sorry about your medical debt; here’s a photo of a model who we paid in “exposure” over ad copy written by an intern who we paid in college credit that cost $3,000 a credit hour. Enjoy.

I saw this ad today too.

Noam Chomsky: Seeing Donald Trump win reminded me of listening to Hitler’s rallies as a boy

Linguist also says he believes a ‘militant labour movement’ could unseat the magnate in 2020

Noam Chomsky has spoken of how watching the results come in on the night of Donald Trump’s US election victory dredged up memories of his feelings after listening to Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies as a boy.

The linguist was speaking during the 20th anniversary party for online news channel Democracy Now. He told audience members that spending November 8 in Barcelona had a “special personal resonance” because his first published article was about the city’s fall to dictator Francisco Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War.

He had written about “the apparently inexorable spread of fascism over Europe and maybe the whole world”, he said.

He added: “I’m old enough to have been able to listen to Hitler’s speeches, the Nuremberg rallies, not understanding the words, but the tone and the reaction of the crowd was enough to leave indelible memories.

"And watching those results come in did arouse some pretty unpleasant memories, along with what is happening in Europe now, which, in many ways, is pretty frightening, as well.”

Mr Chomsky also said he believed Donald Trump supporters could be enticed to vote Democrat again if the Bernie Sanders movement offered a real program for “hope and change”.

On the same evening  Vice President Joe Biden said he might run for president in 2020, Mr Chomsky told the audience that reigniting a “militant labour movement” could swing the next election.

He said American workers have been beaten down for decades with weakened labour unions and stagnant wage growth since neo-liberal policies were instituted in 1979. President Obama’s supporters in 2008 and 2012 were voting for his slogan of “hope and change”, but were disappointed.

complex.com
Millennials Are the Most Educated, Worst Paid Generation
The good news: millennials are the savviest, best-educated generation to date. The bad news: They're also earning less than ever. The averaged earnings of adults ages 18-34 between 2009 and 2013—$33,880—is the lowest since 1980, the New York Times reports. Financially, millennials are pretty much doomed.

Part of the problem, of course, is the slow economy, high unemployment, stagnant wages, and crushing student loan debt that most millennials shoulder. The other part of the problem is the Baby Boomers.

Millennial voters overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders, but they cannot overcome the 45+ voting bloc.

It should come as a surprise to no one that the same generation who have exploited millennials for cheap labor by rigging the system, will also force the candidate best representing Baby Boomer interests on the nation, thus locking in the policies that have kept millennials underpaid, underemployed and under the water.

Your future is being planned by the same people whose policies stacked the present against you. They’ve already made you dig your own grave, now they are going to come back to bury you.

cercletucker  asked:

What do you think about Third Worldism and the Labour Aristocracy?

I have no time whatsoever for the concept of a “labour aristocracy” which Lenin expounds in “Imperialism”, and less for the awful political positions which flow from it.

For anyone who doesn’t know, what Lenin says is that rich countries extract “super profits” from poor ones, and they use these to “bribe” the working class in richer countries in the form of higher wages, in return for complicity in their system etc

There are many things wrong with this formulation - wage levels are dictated by a complex interconnection of factors, employers have to pay enough for basic social reproduction, which obviously varies from place to place, as does the number of unemployed people, the “reserve army of labour”, which is a major factor in determining wage levels. Lenin also ignores the effect of the status of class struggle in determining wages, the stronger and more organised we are as a class, the higher wages we get. All capitalists pay the minimum they can get away with, and this goes for capitalists everywhere.

A while back I came across this excellent blog post, which completely demolishes this whole question using hard economic data as well as marxist theory, it’s worth quoting at length:

The individual capitalist rushes to market, intent on realizing his or her individual profit, and when the money materializes, claims it as his own or her own. But Marx knew better and the markets recognize no individual. Instead, the markets ration, distribute, the total profit. And what the capitalist holds in his or her hand, is a part of the universe of values. Whether the capitalist is large or small, whether the capitalism developed or developing, the distribution of profit by the market, by which a general rate of profit is established and through which more technically developed, more “capital intensive” industries are sustained, is the process by which capital makes whole the sum of its parts. When profit materializes it is through the appropriation of surplus value as a whole, not from the individual wage rates in the individual enterprise.

The establishment of a general rate of profit, and we have seen exactly that in the examination of the returns on US foreign direct investment and indirect investment, abolishes the notion of super profits, and with that, demolishes the claims of the “bribing” of layers or sections of the working class.

The disparities in wage rates, which preceded finance capital, are historical developments. Every industrial capital formation appropriates its surplus value on the basis of different wage-rates within the entire process of production and circulation. Does this mean that workers receiving a higher wages benefit from workers receiving lower wage rates? Do railroad locomotive engineers benefit from the lower wage rates of track workers and mechanics? To pose the question in those terms is a failure to grasp that the realization of profits is a function of the system as a whole, and that nothing in profits high or low, wages high or low, transcends the fundamental social relation of production that defines capital.

If Lenin was right, the massive increase in the extraction of surplus value in the third world over the last decades would have resulted in rising wages and better living conditions for first world workers. I don’t really need to point out that this hasn’t happened. Real wages are stagnant or diminishing in the first world while more surplus value than ever before is extracted from the third. Unless they are bribing us by paying us less, there is something clearly faulty about the whole idea.

Home prices are down 30 percent in many major metropolitan areas, unemployment is at its highest rate in 25 years, foreclosures are on the rise, wages are stagnant, and access to mortgage credit is notoriously tight . After years of betting on risky subprime mortgages, that was the scene at the end of the Great Recession.

After shattering the economy and causing millions to lose their homes, what was Wall Street’s plan to get their profits back in the black? Buy up the foreclosed mortgages and become the former owners’ new landlord. 

Read the full piece here: https://medium.com/@repmarktakano/wall-street-bought-your-foreclosed-home-they-re-happy-to-rent-it-back-to-you-cef1e9d60c9c

huffingtonpost.com
The Democratic Party Needs Keith Ellison

The American people have faced stagnant wages and rising inequality for decades. Many Americans voted for Donald Trump or decided not to vote at all because Democrats failed to communicate effectively with working people and turn out the vote - end of story. The fact is that shouldn’t have happened. The Democratic Party has long been the Party of working people, and needs to do a better job of making that case. No one knows this better than Keith Ellison, and we are proud to endorse him as the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

These are extremely challenging times. President Trump has put forward a nominee for Labor Secretary who openly disdains workers. Congressional Republicans are readying plans to roll back worker protections, repeal the Affordable Care Act and end Medicare as we know it. And in state capitals across the country, the assault on workers and unions has been fierce and swift. Now more than ever, working people need public servants who will stand up and fight for better jobs, higher wages, good benefits and a voice at work.

Keith knows how to win elections, and has a track record of defeating anti-worker forces wherever they are. When Keith was first elected to Congress in 2006, his district had the lowest turnout in Minnesota. Voters just didn’t feel engaged. They didn’t feel like they mattered. Keith decided to do something about it: he organized. He knocked on as many doors as possible. With labor at his side, he talked about the issues that mattered to people. It worked. Since Keith began his grassroots voter turnout campaign, his district is the highest performing in the state. And on top of all this, he’s been getting pro-worker candidates elected from the school board to the U.S. Senate, traveling to nearly 30 states just last cycle.

When nurses went on strike to keep their health insurance, Keith was there. When communications workers went on strike to protest pension cuts, Keith was there. When hotel workers went on strike for a decent wage, Keith was there.

He hasn’t done this alone. Keith has always organized alongside working people. He’s marched on our picket lines and offered support to our members. When nurses went on strike to keep their health insurance, Keith was there. When communications workers went on strike to protest outsourcing and pension cuts, Keith was there. When hotel workers went on strike to stand up for a decent wage, Keith was there.

Each and every time, he’s pounded the pavement, not for some sort of political benefit, but to stand in solidarity with those who want a better life for ourselves and our families.

(Continue Reading)

Rolling Stone:

Here are five facts of life in 2014 that Marx’s analysis of capitalism correctly predicted more than a century ago:

1. The Great Recession (Capitalism’s Chaotic Nature)

The inherently chaotic, crisis-prone nature of capitalism was a key part of Marx’s writings. He argued that the relentless drive for profits would lead companies to mechanize their workplaces, producing more and more goods while squeezing workers’ wages until they could no longer purchase the products they created. Sure enough, modern historical events from the Great Depression to the dot-com bubble can be traced back to what Marx termed “fictitious capital” – financial instruments like stocks and credit-default swaps. We produce and produce until there is simply no one left to purchase our goods, no new markets, no new debts. The cycle is still playing out before our eyes: Broadly speaking, it’s what made the housing market crash in 2008. Decades of deepening inequality reduced incomes, which led more and more Americans to take on debt. When there were no subprime borrows left to scheme, the whole façade fell apart, just as Marx knew it would.

2. The iPhone 5S (Imaginary Appetites)

Marx warned that capitalism’s tendency to concentrate high value on essentially arbitrary products would, over time, lead to what he called “a contriving and ever-calculating subservience to inhuman, sophisticated, unnatural and imaginary appetites.” It’s a harsh but accurate way of describing contemporary America, where we enjoy incredible luxury and yet are driven by a constant need for more and more stuff to buy. Consider the iPhone 5S you may own. Is it really that much better than the iPhone 5 you had last year, or the iPhone 4S a year before that? Is it a real need, or an invented one? While Chinese families fall sick with cancer from our e-waste, megacorporations are creating entire advertising campaigns around the idea that we should destroy perfectly good products for no reason. If Marx could see this kind of thing, he’d nod in recognition.

3. The IMF (The Globalization of Capitalism)

Marx’s ideas about overproduction led him to predict what is now called globalization – the spread of capitalism across the planet in search of new markets. “The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe,” he wrote. “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.” While this may seem like an obvious point now, Marx wrote those words in 1848, when globalization was over a century away. And he wasn’t just right about what ended up happening in the late 20th century – he was right about why it happened: The relentless search for new markets and cheap labor, as well as the incessant demand for more natural resources, are beasts that demand constant feeding.

4. Walmart (Monopoly)

The classical theory of economics assumed that competition was natural and therefore self-sustaining. Marx, however, argued that market power would actually be centralized in large monopoly firms as businesses increasingly preyed upon each other. This might have struck his 19th-century readers as odd: As Richard Hofstadter writes, “Americans came to take it for granted that property would be widely diffused, that economic and political power would decentralized.” It was only later, in the 20th century, that the trend Marx foresaw began to accelerate. Today, mom-and-pop shops have been replaced by monolithic big-box stores like Walmart, small community banks have been replaced by global banks like J.P. Morgan Chase and small famers have been replaced by the likes of Archer Daniels Midland. The tech world, too, is already becoming centralized, with big corporations sucking up start-ups as fast as they can. Politicians give lip service to what minimal small-business lobby remains and prosecute the most violent of antitrust abuses – but for the most part, we know big business is here to stay.

5. Low Wages, Big Profits (The Reserve Army of Industrial Labor)

Marx believed that wages would be held down by a “reserve army of labor,” which he explained simply using classical economic techniques: Capitalists wish to pay as little as possible for labor, and this is easiest to do when there are too many workers floating around. Thus, after a recession, using a Marxist analysis, we would predict that high unemployment would keep wages stagnant as profits soared, because workers are too scared of unemployment to quit their terrible, exploitative jobs. And what do you know? No less an authority than the Wall Street Journal warns, “Lately, the U.S. recovery has been displaying some Marxian traits. Corporate profits are on a tear, and rising productivity has allowed companies to grow without doing much to reduce the vast ranks of the unemployed.” That’s because workers are terrified to leave their jobs and therefore lack bargaining power. It’s no surprise that the best time for equitable growth is during times of “full employment,” when unemployment is low and workers can threaten to take another job.

There are positive changes as well; crowdfunding and cheap prototyping tools have given ordinary people the ability to produce things. When the revolution comes, who’s to say it won’t look like Kickstarter?

Why were jungle heroes so important in the early 20th Century?

I can’t possibly be more excited about Captain America: Civil War. One of the major reasons is that it will be the movie debut of one of my favorite Avengers, if not my favorite Avenger: the Black Panther, a jungle king hero in the style of Tarzan, who is interesting because he combines the usual tradition of the jungle hero with scifi elements. For instance, when going on a jungle expedition, his load bearing Askari porters are all secretly robots, which he uses to keep his equipment and panther costume. The Black Panther was added to the Avengers because writer Roy Thomas was a huge Tarzan fan and wanted a Tarzan type hero on the team. But what’s interesting is how rare jungle heroes are now, compared to how huge they were in the early 20th Century.  

Why were jungle heroes such a big thing in the early 20th Century?

There were several reasons: 

There was a belief that two major trends of the early 20th Century, urban living and repetitive industrial jobs, stole men’s masculinity, and only by a return to the primal wilderness could we get it back. 

The two figures that represented manliness the most in this era were Theodore Roosevelt (who founded the National Parks system) and Tarzan. This belief started to express itself in many other ways. For instance, this was also the age that the Boy Scouts were founded, and boys started to go to summer camps.

The average person didn’t travel, so wilderness settings were unfathomably exotic. Try to imagine a world with no air travel, where transatlantic commercial flights didn’t exist until 1939. In 1920, a ship could take 6 days to travel from New York to Paris. If travel takes that long, it means that, usually, ordinary people didn’t do it. Could YOU take two weeks off your job just to head to Paris and come back? It’s pretty accurate to say that the average Westerner, before 1940, never traveled internationally for pleasure. 

Here’s a serious question many people might not have considered: in today’s world, why do we love space travel? Because it’s unusual, outside of the ordinary world outside of our windows, and because anything can happen there. For the same reason, people who never traveled thought of the jungle, which might as well be the surface of the Moon.

The public started to have a lot of contact with exotic animals for the first time. Let me be clear: Zoos were not new in the early 20th Century. Zoos have been around since Roman times and Ancient China. But zoos open to the public absolutely were new. The average person on the street having the leisure time to visit a zoo, that was new. A huge mass of people living in large cities where zoos existed was also something that was new. These three factors combined made the public zoo-mad. If you ever watch a 1920s-1940s movie, notice how much time people spend in zoos on dates and for other events.

All that said, it doesn’t surprise me that jungle heroes would start to make a comeback in 2016. Not only do we have the Black Panther in Marvel, there’s also a Jungle Book movie, we also have a big budget Tarzan film. If there’s a defining spirit of our age, it’s anxiety over the ability to make a living. It’s now true that automation has finally reached a point where more jobs are lost due to machinery than will be regained in tech jobs, a trend that every sign shows will continue forever, resulting in stagnant wages and a gig economy of zero-stability part time jobs. Even driving will be replaced by self-driving cars and trucks eventually. If you define masculinity, and your worth as a man, by self-sufficiency and the ability to take care of your family, something that is gradually being eroded, it’s easy to see why the return of jungle heroes would have appeal. 

People who say “everyone’s responsible for the world’s problems” are the worst. People think its a really clever point too “when you think about it the economy is just us.” Nope. 

“the financial crisis is our fault for borrowing too much money and living beyond our means. the banks didn’t force you to take out that mortgage”

Actually, US banks targeted people on racial lines for the most unaffordable and ridiculous interest rates. Also, consumer debt needs to be put in historical context - with the onset of neoliberalism the class compromise of relatively high wages and cooperation between unions and bosses broke down. We have now had decades of stagnant wages - consumer debt is what was used to make low wages possible, a new way to placate the working class. Unsustainable debt is built into the structure of this economic period. 

“we all consume unsustainably, climate change is all of our fault”

Firstly, capital expends billions of pounds every year employing celebrities, graphic designers, psychologists, advertising agencies to dream up new ways to sell us products that are engineered to become obsolete very quickly. Your consumption is conditioned by capital.

Secondly, huge amounts of waste are built in to the system and most waste isn’t done by consumers at home. Think of the car graveyard of thousands of units that can’t be sold for a profit so are left to rot, or the amount of food thrown out by supermarkets. Institutions like the military which you have no meaningful power to curtail have massive carbon footprints.

Thirdly, consumption is not evenly distributed. Someone on the poverty line is objectively less responsible for wasteful consumption than an oligarch in a private jet. Obviously. There is no ‘humanity’ or ‘society’ distinct from a class analysis.

10 REASONS TO FIGHT FOR A $15 MINIMUM WAGE

1- 47 million people (including 1 in 4 children) live in poverty in the richest country in the world and it’s not because they don’t “work hard” (if you’ve ever worked a low-wage job you know how physically demanding and degrading they are), it’s because the ruling class needs to keep millions of people impoverished in order to remain the 1%. 


2- $450 billion would be injected into the economy EVERY YEAR if the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour.

3- The average hourly wage for downtown retail and food service workers in Chicago is $9.34 while the average hourly pay for the CEOs of those stores and restaurants is $6,000. So the reason why they’re rich is because they keep their workers (whether in Bangladesh, Guatemala, China, or Chicago), the ones whose labor ACTUALLY produces the profits, in poverty. 

4- If the minimum wage had kept up with the increase in worker productivity, our minimum wage today would be $22 an hour. Why is it not? Because corporations spend millions of dollars every year lobbying congress to keep the minimum wage stagnant so that their profits soar. 

5- Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour won’t raise the cost of housing/commodities/etc because the Federal Reserve does not allow price levels to rise more than 2% per year. This means then, that corporations will have to take the hit, but so fucking what? If they can keep lobbying congress to get billions of our taxpayer dollars in subsidies then they can MORE than afford to raise their workers’ wages. 

6- NOT EVERYONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY OR MEANS TO ATTEND COLLEGE AND THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO LIVE IN POVERTY FOR THAT REASON. 

7- Even with a college degree (associates or bachelors), there AREN’T ENOUGH NON LOW-WAGE JOBS to accommodate all new graduates, which is why more than ever, degree-holding individuals are FORCED to work low-wage jobs while they search (often for years) for jobs in their fields. This is because ONE THIRD OF ALL JOBS in Chicago are low-wage jobs. After the 2008 economic crisis that was caused by the 1% and their banker buddies, 52% of all new jobs created nationally have been, and continue to be, in the low-wage service sector. In 2011 the United States officially became a service (i.e. low wage) economy as tech jobs and production jobs continue to be outsourced. 

8- Raising the minimum wage would increase economic activity in Chicago which would in turn create a demand for new jobs. 1 new job would be created for every 25 workers making the new minimum wage of $15 an hour.

9- It is a proven fact that poverty and wealth inequality PRODUCE CRIME as individuals seek out extra-legal means by which to generate an income. Raising the minimum wage would significantly reduce crime by creating jobs in the communities which need economic stimulation the most. 

10- WORKERS’ RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and regardless of the opinion of people who devalue the work that low-wage workers do, EVERYONE DESERVES A LIVING WAGE. PERIOD.