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40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage

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http://thecontributor.com/40-americans-now-make-less-1968-minimum-wage  - Charts and Full Article


You may have seen charts like the one to the right from the Economic Policy Institute, showing how working people’s wages stopped going up along with productivity gains.

This means the gains went…somewhere else. See if you can guess who got them? (Hint: it’s the 1 percent; this is one driver of the terrible income and wealth inequality.) This breakoff of wages from productivity growth is partly the result of trade agreements that pit Americans against exploited workers in non-democracies. This weakened the bargaining power of unions, moved factories and industries out of the country, devastated entire regions of our country — and gave the giant multinational corporations, Wall Street and the billionaires the leverage they needed.

Economist Dean Baker describes one effect of this in Minimum Wage: Who Decided Workers Should Fall Behind?

“If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth [since 1968], it would be over $16.50 an hour today. That is higher than the hourly wages earned by 40 percent of men and half of women.”

The minimum wage would be $16.50 an hour — $33,000 a year — if it had kept up with the growth of productivity since 1968. To put the effect of this a different way, 40 percent of Americans now make less than the 1968 minimum wage, had the minimum wage kept pace with productivity gains.

To put this even another way, the average American’s living standard would be much, much higher today if wages had not decoupled from productivity gains – with the gains all going to the 1 percent instead of being shared by workers. If wages had kept pace we wouldn’t feel the terrible squeeze that everyone in the middle class is feeling.

This is one more way to understand the effect of income and wealth inequality on each of us. The 1 percent versus 99 percent thing is real. When you hear that the 6 Walmart heirs have more wealth than a third of all Americans combined, it is real. When you hear that the people on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined, it is real.

And the effects on the rest of us are real.

by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 5:47 PM
Replies (31-39):
turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:17 AM
1 mom liked this

 IMO people put as much passion put into better wages as there is about guns...the trickle affect would greatly help the American public.

Quoting stormcris:

There inflation is viewed as one thing. Here it is the tax the fed places on people. Your inflation has an index ours is set to the whims of others. I think perhaps that is the reason. 

Quoting turtle68:

 

I really dont understand how your wages dont index with inflation....I really thought that was a gimme in modern society?

Here our minimum wages are reviewed annually and indexed accordingly.  This is an excerpt from our fair works ombudsman FAQ's

 

I honestly think the US working class is really been pummeled into believing thats all theyre worth...and those paying them are sitting righteously thinking that IS ALL THEYRE WORTH.

Quote:

From 1 July 2012, Fair Work Australia increased the minimum wage in modern awards by 2.9%.

This increase applies to the minimum wage entitlements of most employees covered by the national system.

For adult employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, the adult national minimum wage was increased from $589.30 per week to $606.40 or $15.96 per hour

As a woman with work experience from all different areas and no formal training or degrees....I wouldnt get out of bed for less than $20 an hour and even then it would have to be a job I loved. My last job paid 37 an hour. My 14yo pushed trolleys after school for 10 dollars an hour....5 years ago. My now 14yo is in a school based traineeship...one day a week and gets paid 120 for the day (granted even in my book this is extremely rare)


 

masonmomma
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:25 AM
What a load of crap.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
stormcris
by Christy on Feb. 23, 2013 at 4:02 AM

Perhaps, I just do not think people can get away from the tunnel vision that has been created long enough to realize there are multiple possibilities in order to improve conditions and the standard of living besides accepting the status quo.

Quoting turtle68:

 IMO people put as much passion put into better wages as there is about guns...the trickle affect would greatly help the American public.

Quoting stormcris:

There inflation is viewed as one thing. Here it is the tax the fed places on people. Your inflation has an index ours is set to the whims of others. I think perhaps that is the reason. 

Quoting turtle68:

 

I really dont understand how your wages dont index with inflation....I really thought that was a gimme in modern society?

Here our minimum wages are reviewed annually and indexed accordingly.  This is an excerpt from our fair works ombudsman FAQ's


I honestly think the US working class is really been pummeled into believing thats all theyre worth...and those paying them are sitting righteously thinking that IS ALL THEYRE WORTH.

Quote:

From 1 July 2012, Fair Work Australia increased the minimum wage in modern awards by 2.9%.

This increase applies to the minimum wage entitlements of most employees covered by the national system.

For adult employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, the adult national minimum wage was increased from $589.30 per week to $606.40 or $15.96 per hour

As a woman with work experience from all different areas and no formal training or degrees....I wouldnt get out of bed for less than $20 an hour and even then it would have to be a job I loved. My last job paid 37 an hour. My 14yo pushed trolleys after school for 10 dollars an hour....5 years ago. My now 14yo is in a school based traineeship...one day a week and gets paid 120 for the day (granted even in my book this is extremely rare)


 


LIMom1105
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 8:34 AM

This is sad, but it also, in a nutshell, is one reason why our economy will not recover well.  Our economy is based on consumption at this point, and if the vast majority of Americans cannot consume, we're in trouble. Large companies have become very greedy, at their detriment.

meriana
by Gold Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

 


Quoting turtle68:

 IMO people put as much passion put into better wages as there is about guns...the trickle affect would greatly help the American public.

Quoting stormcris:

There inflation is viewed as one thing. Here it is the tax the fed places on people. Your inflation has an index ours is set to the whims of others. I think perhaps that is the reason. 

Quoting turtle68:

 

I really dont understand how your wages dont index with inflation....I really thought that was a gimme in modern society?

Here our minimum wages are reviewed annually and indexed accordingly.  This is an excerpt from our fair works ombudsman FAQ's

 

I honestly think the US working class is really been pummeled into believing thats all theyre worth...and those paying them are sitting righteously thinking that IS ALL THEYRE WORTH.

Quote:

From 1 July 2012, Fair Work Australia increased the minimum wage in modern awards by 2.9%.

This increase applies to the minimum wage entitlements of most employees covered by the national system.

For adult employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, the adult national minimum wage was increased from $589.30 per week to $606.40 or $15.96 per hour

As a woman with work experience from all different areas and no formal training or degrees....I wouldnt get out of bed for less than $20 an hour and even then it would have to be a job I loved. My last job paid 37 an hour. My 14yo pushed trolleys after school for 10 dollars an hour....5 years ago. My now 14yo is in a school based traineeship...one day a week and gets paid 120 for the day (granted even in my book this is extremely rare)


 

People being passionate about better wages, etc. was the reason Unions came into being. Years ago other things came into play and corporations began moving jobs off-shore. When people complained they claimed the reason for it was the high corporate taxes and the high wages Unions demanded. They also said it was advantageous to the general public as it would result in lower prices for goods. After awhile a lot of people began believing that crap so these days, it's easy for corporations to not only make the same claims but also for those at the top to spread the idea that paying a decent, living wage takes away from them personally, money that they have earned and should be able to keep. They get a lot of sympathy with crying about "wealth redistribution" and how Unions have and do cost them so much. A lot of people don't get that what they're really saying is that they're fine with "wealth redistribution" as long as it goes from the bottom to the top and every hard-working average person should just be happy with whatever the corporations decide to give them in wages, which is as little as possible. They've managed to convince a lot of people that those who want, let alone demand, a wage they can support their families on are simply lazy, greedy people who could be where they are if they had worked harder and made better choices. They have managed to demonize hard-working people and the Unions that support them to the point that many really believe that a National Right to Work law will make everything better for everyone when in fact the only ones it would make things better for are those at the top of the ladder. They have changed the climate from one where people demanding a decent wage were supported to one where they are seen as the problem.


 

sneffy014
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Minimum wage was never intended to be a livable wage. It is for people starting out or with minimal skills. The point is to either go to college and earn a degree or work your way up the corporate ladder by learning on the job. The problem is people want "immediate gratification" for everything. When I was a teen and lived at home with my parents, we lived in a beautiful 4 bedroom home with a swimming pool, had Cable TV and all the amenities a person could want. We lived this way because my parents worked very had for many years to achieve this lifestyle. They didn't start out that way. They started with a one bedroom apartment and saved their money and sometimes worked two jobs to make ends meet. They continued on from there etc.

When it was time for me to move out, I COULDN'T AFFORD all of those luxuries my parents had provided me with, I had to EARN them!  I eared just above minimum wage. My first apartment was tiny and since I didn't want a roommate, I worked two jobs to support myself. I couldn't afford cable etc. and had to make do with what I could afford. I was proud to have a roof over my head. Slowly, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and went to school along the way. Now that I am in my 40s, I appreciate what I have because I earned it! My husband is the same way. He came here from another country and worked his way up. He did alot of crappy jobs to make ends meet but he has a great work ethic and together we accomplished a great deal. Now he makes a very good salary but it took many years.

As with others, the economy has taken a toll on our finances. But, due to our background, we are not afraid to cut back on luxuries, work two jobs or do whatever is necessary to stay afloat.

Nobody is forced to work at Walmart or any other place. However, I believe it is possible to climb the corporate ladder at places like Walmart, Target, McDonalds etc. if you put forth the effort. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. That is life.

Jers.
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I think you are completely missing the point.

Quoting sneffy014:

Minimum wage was never intended to be a livable wage. It is for people starting out or with minimal skills. The point is to either go to college and earn a degree or work your way up the corporate ladder by learning on the job. The problem is people want "immediate gratification" for everything. When I was a teen and lived at home with my parents, we lived in a beautiful 4 bedroom home with a swimming pool, had Cable TV and all the amenities a person could want. We lived this way because my parents worked very had for many years to achieve this lifestyle. They didn't start out that way. They started with a one bedroom apartment and saved their money and sometimes worked two jobs to make ends meet. They continued on from there etc.

When it was time for me to move out, I COULDN'T AFFORD all of those luxuries my parents had provided me with, I had to EARN them!  I eared just above minimum wage. My first apartment was tiny and since I didn't want a roommate, I worked two jobs to support myself. I couldn't afford cable etc. and had to make do with what I could afford. I was proud to have a roof over my head. Slowly, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and went to school along the way. Now that I am in my 40s, I appreciate what I have because I earned it! My husband is the same way. He came here from another country and worked his way up. He did alot of crappy jobs to make ends meet but he has a great work ethic and together we accomplished a great deal. Now he makes a very good salary but it took many years.

As with others, the economy has taken a toll on our finances. But, due to our background, we are not afraid to cut back on luxuries, work two jobs or do whatever is necessary to stay afloat.

Nobody is forced to work at Walmart or any other place. However, I believe it is possible to climb the corporate ladder at places like Walmart, Target, McDonalds etc. if you put forth the effort. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. That is life.



Sisteract
by Whoopie on Feb. 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM

People better be very careful. Now that outsourcing, downsizing and rightsizing has been exhausted, benefits stripped, all that's left is for wages for all workers to decrease. With jobs being scarce with relationship to available workers, companies have the upper hand. Will people balk when skilled workers' salaries are drastically cut?  I see this in our future, folks.

There's always someone who will work for less.

People usually do not "get it" until they are per$onally affected- get ready!

MunchiesMom324
by on Feb. 23, 2013 at 12:54 PM

 


Quoting littlelamb303:

 

 

Quoting Arroree:

My husband has no degree and works a menial labor job for a big name company known to pay it's workers as little as possible and after 8 years at his job he's now making about $40,000 a year, more than most of the people we know that have college degrees. Yet his father keeps pushing him to go to college and get a degree *of the fathers choosing* that would actually earn him LESS in the workplace than he's making now... *sigh*  A degree isn't everything anymore.

 

Quoting Naturewoman4:

Wow!  Where do you live, I'm moving there lol.  Because, I don't know of anywhere that would pay kids that much.  Also, that's incredible how much you got paid & wouldn't take less!!  All without a Degree? Wow!  Honestly, I haven't heard/know anyone that gets paid that well, unless they do have a Degree.  Or they've been on their job for a long time & is a Union worker.  

I think the problem is that the cost of living is so high, compared to in the 60's.  So, even if a family is bringing in good money each wk., it doesn't seem like they're doing that great because of the cost of living is so high.  Honestly, I don't know how my husband & I would of done it, if we were still raising our 2 kids.  I feel very lucky to have already done that.  Both my kids left for college at 18.  My daughter has been gone for 5 yrs. now.  About the time when the recession hit.  So, I just can't image how we would of done it.  Because, I lost my job about that too.  I really didn't look for a job after that.   

 

Quoting turtle68:

 

I really dont understand how your wages dont index with inflation....I really thought that was a gimme in modern society?

Here our minimum wages are reviewed annually and indexed accordingly.  This is an excerpt from our fair works ombudsman FAQ's

 

I honestly think the US working class is really been pummeled into believing thats all theyre worth...and those paying them are sitting righteously thinking that IS ALL THEYRE WORTH.

Quote:

From 1 July 2012, Fair Work Australia increased the minimum wage in modern awards by 2.9%.

This increase applies to the minimum wage entitlements of most employees covered by the national system.

For adult employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, the adult national minimum wage was increased from $589.30 per week to $606.40 or $15.96 per hour

As a woman with work experience from all different areas and no formal training or degrees....I wouldnt get out of bed for less than $20 an hour and even then it would have to be a job I loved. My last job paid 37 an hour. My 14yo pushed trolleys after school for 10 dollars an hour....5 years ago. My now 14yo is in a school based traineeship...one day a week and gets paid 120 for the day (granted even in my book this is extremely rare)

 

 

 

 

 

 you know a lot of people making under 40k with college degrees? That is really bad,  I don't.  As a matter of fact, 40 k would not get you very far where I live.  My husband made 130k last year and he does not have a college degree(he only went for 2 yrs)  People in this country ARE seriously underpaid and it should not be tolerated

My best friend had an amazing job as a gvt contractor... paid out at $22/hr.  She has almost completed her Masters Degree - dual majors (Graphic Design/ Marketing - minor in accounting or something)

Once her contract was up, she had to find employment elsewhere... and finally (after almost all of her savings had been depleted) found a job paying her $14/hr. 

Masters degree... $14/hr.  She's afraid to start a family, and I can't say that I blame her.

 

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