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Source: TPMDC
Quick and dirty, folks. Basically, the upper line represents the value of your work. The lower line represents what you got paid for it.

The empty space in between—the difference between what your work was worth and how much you got for it—represents the money the executives skimmed off the top and kept for themselves.

How did they do it? In part, by so destroying the notion of job security that workers increasingly felt lucky just to be able to live paycheck to paycheck.

But let me switch gears for a second here. Imagine if this chart showed the gross income of the wealthiest 1 percent in the top line, but their income after taxes on the lower line.

"What's our incentive to keep working hard?" we'd be hearing. "We're gonna go Galt!"

But that's not what it is. It's a chart about working people getting screwed. And as you know, if workers start talking about withholding labor, they're "thugs." God forbid mid- and low-level corporate administrative workers say such a thing. That's actually flat out illegal.

No, seriously. It's illegal. How do you think we got that rule? One guess.

It seems to me this tracks pretty closely with the change in the "business" culture over the past few decades. We all still cling to the old-fashioned notion of the "businessman," which is how Mitt Romney's currently selling himself. But this quaint notion of the "businessman" who's in the business of actually making something as well as it can be made, and hoping to make a profit from that, has long since been replaced by the MBA-model "businessman," for whom the product makes no difference. The "business" is in finding ways to extract more money from it, whether there's more profit from it or not.

We're all still mostly stuck in the old way of thinking about "business." Where it simply wasn't possible to extract more money unless there was more profit. But the chart tells a very different story. The way to extract more money from a business (profitable or otherwise) is increasingly to take it out of what you pay your employees, even if they're working harder for you than ever.

Now we know why the rich are so keen to be "job creators." It's certainly not that they care whether you've got a job. It's that every job they create is another opportunity to keep more of the money your work makes.

It certainly explains why they hate unions so much. Those "thugs" think you should be able to keep some of that money for yourself. So that you have "an incentive to keep working hard."

I could swear I've heard that somewhere before. But it sounded totally patriotic when I heard it last. Now it just sounds like socialmalisms.

Oh, well. Whatever.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great Chart (31+ / 0-)

    Shows the failure of modern Democrats to stand up for labor.  Not to excuse the Republicans at all, they are the party of the plutocrats, but where are those that would stand for us.

    "I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man.'" J. R. Robertson.

    by NearlyNormal on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:47:57 AM PDT

  •  doesn't this show that no Democratic (13+ / 0-)

    presidents elected in the last 40 years has cared to do anything about workers... while passing such great things as Clinton's welfare "reform" that only throws people out of the social safety net, or Obama's Tax Cut for Billionaires (and with 60% of the votes in Congress, too!)

    •  I remember some pretty brutal fights over the (24+ / 0-)

      minimum wage.

      We've been fighting, but we've been losing, and part of the reason is that most americans yawn in response to this chart.

      We need to find a way to communicate these facts in a soundbite.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

      by OllieGarkey on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:51:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope. (12+ / 0-)

        "We" need to actually put this chart out where people can see it.
        The majority does not see this anywhere.

        The picture IS the soundbite.

        -6.12 -4.87 I don’t need insurance I need health care. You have sick people and doctors. Any third parties looking to profit from disease should go to hell. (Stolen from a comment somewhere on the Internet.)

        by jestbill on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:24:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. The talking points in ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... defense of the Great U-Turn in the early 1970's, depend in large part on people not knowing what the reality is, because their information is being distorted at the source.

          Get this picture out there. The more people who see it, the harder the job of the right wing propaganda machine.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:46:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yo Ollie!. Sound bites are ok in the short term, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and connect ok with shallow thinkers.  The better long-term solution is to educate people about the value of rational, logical thinking.  Too many voters only react to emotional, buzz-word, hot button labels and snappy sound-bites.  It all gets down to the intelligence of the average American voter.  Smarter, more thoughtful people are harder to fool, and will probably make smarter decisions.  But then, when you cut funding for education, you get a poorly educated electorate, a population that substitutes labels for ideas, knee-jerk reflexes for purposeful actions, and votes against its own best interests.  But then, as the chart implies, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.  Sound-bites won’t change that; education will.

        •  isn't it because (0+ / 0-)

          All the  Democratic presidents elected in the last 40 years have done nothing to affect this because each one has proven to be more conservative than the last, and has proven to be at least as destructive as the Republicans in economic regulation, taxes, dismantling the social safety net, and denigrating the public sector.

          I'm sure Shirley Sherrod is declared a non-entity by the enablers

        •  You're completely right about this. (0+ / 0-)

          Soundbites in the short term, education in the long term, and the American People win.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

          by OllieGarkey on Thu May 03, 2012 at 10:42:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It shows a lot of things. (13+ / 0-)

      Three things that spring to mind are all rooted in the legal system.

      One, that it's flat out illegal for most of the work force to organize even if they wanted to.

      Two, that the business law canon makes it all too easy to protect this wealth extraction activity under the "business judgement rule."

      And three, that the entire judicial system is intentionally biased toward keeping wealth and property where it lies.

      Some of this we want to be the case. But much of it is the product of increasingly creative perversions of the leeway we intended to afford when we wrote the rules.

      •  Most of this (10+ / 0-)

        is due to globalization and technology.

        The chart says what is happening: what is missing is why.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:05:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)

          The great majority of this productivity is due to technology IMO, a small part to mergers and acquisitions, and the rest to globalization and the geographic redistribution of processes and work.

          Almost all technology investments not involved with new products are about making work faster (raising productivity) and cheaper (lowering operational costs i.e., staff).

          Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

          by kck on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:19:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I tend to agree, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Angry Architect

            shouldn't the productivity increases also accrue in increased dollars for the workers who made the productivity possible, e.g., the creators of the software, the engineers who designed the machines, those who built the prototypes, even those who were displaced by the technologies?

            Taken to it's logical extreme, assume all production is now due to technology and machines. In fact, even the machine design and construction is being done by machines, absolutely minimum human interaction is involved. Is the plan at that point to let everyone except the owners of the machine-laden factories and their families simply starve to death? Mustn't there be some way to distribute the fruits of this accomplishment to everyone so that we call all have decent things and not go hungry?

          •  Disagreed (0+ / 0-)

            The chart shows hourly wages. If it showed total payroll, I'd buy your argument that techology = cheaper. But fewer workers producing more products per worker should show a corresponding increase in hourly wages.

            Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

            by edg on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:44:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The last thing this planet needs is more productiv (0+ / 0-)

            Too much productivity is degenerating the human culture and civilization. People are impoverished for time. Time with each other time creating time in contemplation. We are running this planet and ourselves into the ground.

      •  This may all be true... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but I can't see why you get them from this chart.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:21:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  can't remember the author (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but the book is titled
        Which Side Are You On? and it lays out the sordid history of how SCOTUS & the judicial system have systematically dismantled all of organized labor's hard-won gains for the working class over the past 65 yrs or so

        •  those pructivity number are actually from working (0+ / 0-)

          More hours with less pay. The 40 hour work week is no longer the law. So the few people with full time work are working longer hours with less pay. We don't have TIME to be human anymore.

    •  yeah, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Duck, sebastianguy99

      because as everyone knows from their civics classes:

      Presidents set wages, not companies.

      Presidents also have complete control over how much profits companies make.

      Little known fact: Presidents set the tax rates, not Congress.

      Presidents also can enact-by-decree laws that affect workers, like minimum wage laws. Congress really has no job at all.

      As a matter of fact, Presidents have a magic wand that they can wave and make anything happen that any particular citizen wishes to make happen.

      Hey diarist, you forgot to label that axis that shows how much Democratic Presidents care about worker's wages! I think the President needs to decree a truth-in-axis-labeling law...

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:02:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        think the President is among the axis powers but I really would like to see the level of compassion, conservative or otherwise.

        -6.12 -4.87 I don’t need insurance I need health care. You have sick people and doctors. Any third parties looking to profit from disease should go to hell. (Stolen from a comment somewhere on the Internet.)

        by jestbill on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:32:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  nice pun, haha.... (3+ / 0-)

          just in case it is not a pun:

          "axis" definition

          b. A reference line from which distances or angles are measured in a coordinate system.

          From Wikipedia:

          Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) is an observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

          OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

          by hillbrook green on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:41:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  NAFTA was surely an atrocity, as was Rubinomics. (5+ / 0-)

      But under Bill Clinton the working class at least saw a little uptick in real wages, something that was promptly clawed back under Bush. And every year there's been an escalating war against unions & labor in any form. Under Republicans it's active assault, as in the repellent Elaine Chao as "Labor Secretary". Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Under Democrats it's more like benign neglect. Three steps back during Republican administrations; only one step back during Democratic.

  •  We need to work on messaging this. (14+ / 0-)

    That's the crisis of the left: how to get the joe six packs affected by this to vote their self interest.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

    by OllieGarkey on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:49:52 AM PDT

    •  Bingo. Note the divirgence kicks off with the (11+ / 0-)

      "Reagan Democrats" leaving labor and voting for "social issues" like abortion and the siren's song of racism dressed up as "states' rights".

      All my sig lines are hand-crafted by demented elves living in my skull.

      by ontheleftcoast on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:55:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't notice it until you pointed it out. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ontheleftcoast, TomP, bartcopfan

        That's an important correlation.

        An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

        by OllieGarkey on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:07:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The 70's had economic reasons for the disparity (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, bartcopfan, OllieGarkey

          The oil embargo being the big one. Then the country went all inflation fearing, remember Fords "WIN" campaign, which led to wage freezes. Ugh, WIN was so bad that even Alan Greenspan didn't like it. Now THAT is a terrible idea.

          All my sig lines are hand-crafted by demented elves living in my skull.

          by ontheleftcoast on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:12:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Corporate restructuring being ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... the big one. The oil embargo can create a dip in both, but on its own it doesn't create a divergence.

            Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

            by BruceMcF on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:52:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. I was trying to remember what happened in '73 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and immediately came up w/ the Arab Oil Embargo.  But I don't think that would cause the split between rich and poor like this.  Reagan's 1981 tax cuts and union-busting would help mightily w/ that, but as others have pointed out, this predates that by years.

            I wondered about the winding down of the war in Vietnam or even the Roe v. Wade decision, but those don't seem right either....

            Oooooh, I just had a thought I haven't seen mentioned yet--maybe it's the increasing role of women in the workplace!  It's often been observed that once a threshold percentage of women are performing a job, the wages are dropped considerably.  This would also correlate w/ the shift from manufacturing (esp. unionized) to non-unionized service jobs.

            The timing on that would also correlate w/ trends that women were gaining more education and rights than ever before and that increasing inflationary pressures (e.g. oil shocks) made two-income families more common.

            Once Reaganomics was implemented, the harvest by the wealthy of the fruits of the rest of our labors is pretty easy to comprehend.  Clinton helped reverse the trend somewhat (all quintiles of incomes found their incomes rising), but the best-off still lead the increases (I'd put that on the tech boom) and of course, when W came in, the wheels came off for non-millionaires.

            I'll certainly be interested to read more comments about others' thoughts as to the cause(s).  But this is one of the most politically-important graphs I think I've ever seen!  Thanks all for sharing.

            "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

            by bartcopfan on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:44:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  For confirmation, I reviewed one of my faves, (0+ / 0-)

              a site which gives historical US income tax rates.  Sure enough, from the (LBJ) 1965 tax year until the Reagan cuts became effective in 1982, the top rate was a constant 70%.  So there would have to be some other explanation.

              I'm trying to remember when capital gains started being taxed at only half the top rate.  That would be something I'd say would exacerbate the split between top and bottom incomes.

              "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

              by bartcopfan on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:43:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  That would be the period when (0+ / 0-)

        Jimmy Carter, despite all his other good attributes, began treating labor unions as the enemy...

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:43:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The divergence kicks off with ... (3+ / 0-)

        ... Nixon and the Southern Strategy. You are looking at where the productivity growth has accumulated enough to show up the gap that results from the Great U-Turn policies.

        Harrison, Bennett and Bluestone, Barry. The Great U-Turn: Corporate Restructuring and the Polarizing of America. New York: Basic Books, 1990

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:50:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's important to note that when (0+ / 0-)

          "the good times" of the Reagan era began (remember "It's Morning in America"?) that the gap caused by economic reasons didn't begin to close. In fact it began to widen. With the busting of the unions employers saw the landscape shift and took advantage of it.

          All my sig lines are hand-crafted by demented elves living in my skull.

          by ontheleftcoast on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:53:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  lack of new ideas (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, fladem, Meteor Blades

      The left of center has been intellectually hemmed in by the boogie man (boogie men) of 20th century state fascism on the far left (USSR et al) and the failure to aggressively defend the "liberal" brand against the very successful campaign to brand "liberals" as the party of out of control street crime.

      We don't have a message besides: Defend the New Deal. Or, These Guys are Creepy Psychos. Both of which I agree with but aren't a vision of how to move "forward". The centrists have decided on this years "hope" and it's "forward". Do they have more than that? It'll be some weak policy wonk stuff and defending minor investments in "job creating green technologies" from endless Fox headlines of "Solyndra-gate" as the election gets nearer.

      We have to have a vision. Keynes / Krugman "rebuild America" (?) When they say "jobs" they mean "profits". There are always enough jobs to meet the demand. We have a demand problem and we also have a sense of national purpose problem. The grass roots of the other side, and they are depressingly populous in states that are over represented in the Electoral College and the Senate, would rather destroy this country than have a black President or admit that the whole line of $h!^ they've been sold by these con men since Reagan has been a fraud. It's hard to admit your daddy figures, who were protecting you from the Soviet backed "union thugs" and scary fast running black guys from the cities and their hippie enablers, were basically lying to you and have trashed your children's future. We can't fight that fight now, we have to present a way "forward". We need ideas for 2014 and beyond.

      If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

      by jgnyc on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:08:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even Joe6pack has to vote for either (0+ / 0-)

      Dem or rep both working for the rich.

  •  Like Boxer said... (6+ / 0-)

    In "Animal Farm": "I will work harder."

    The Republican brand: "Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich"

    by D in Northern Virginia on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:51:33 AM PDT

  •  Surplus value (13+ / 0-)

    Workers get paid for their labor power.  They produce more value than what they are paid.  The surplus is siphoned away by the company.  It is then paid to the owners.  The company is run by its managers.  The owners do little but own.

    This form of ownership is parasitic and socially vestigal.

    "The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends." -Julian Assange

    by Pierro Sraffa on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:54:34 AM PDT

    •  It's a form of capitalism that's both unfair (8+ / 0-)

      and unsustainable that we have to get rid of. It makes feudalism look good in comparison because lords were expected to take care of their serfs.

      Of course, merely complaining about it let alone trying to do something about it is socialism, and we can't have any of that, can we?

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:07:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In Capitalism, Ownership is Everything (0+ / 0-)

      You've hit the nail on the head: Owners own. I'm not sure what you mean by "this form" and "parasitic and socially vestigal" -- IMHO today's capitalism is that natural extreme outcome of our being a society of private property and business. As technology and economies of scale favor the large getting larger, those that own, that really are capitalists, that 1%, THEY reap the benefits.

      The real issue, which you touch on, is WHO are the owners? The answer has been, those that already own, that is, the rich, the super-rich and the ultra-rich. This is rather easily correctable, without taking away someone's property through tax, or other means.

      The correction is the ABILITY to acquire/purchase ownership, that is, stock. What the rich can easily do is use credit to buy dividend-paying stock, and use that "future savings" to amass more ownership of new capital. Thus, the cheap credit available to banks and the rich should be made available to the 99%. This is not a give-way or a bailout -- its a loan, and' it's paid back by the dividends.  

      One small form of this are Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), which enable workers to own their company.  While this can be abused, the principle can solve the problem you've identified. As machines displace workers, those same workers can own a piece of that company and the value generated by those machines.

      With capital credit to citizens, a CAPITAL HOMESTEAD ACT could make capitalists out of the majority of American, spreading out the new wealth being generated without welfare and taxes.  If TARP have passed the new stock ownership on to citizens, millions more could have GM and Ford stock today.

      See for more information on this concept. Ownership is everything.

  •  We need a paradigm-shift (10+ / 0-)

    Community instead of the current dog-eat-dog, unfettered "free-market" nightmare.

    I don't know if we'll get there before it's too late.

    Dissatisfaction with democratic government is substantially due to economic globalization. We either rein in the corporations or Nation States will continue to diminish in stature, power and their ability to protect and serve their citizenry.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:54:40 AM PDT

  •  See House of Lies. (Showtime) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes, it's a caricature, but it fits today's...

    "...MBA-model "businessman," for whom the product makes no difference. The "business" is in finding ways to extract more money from it, whether there's more profit from it or not."

    "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

    by solesse413 on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:55:04 AM PDT

  •  Bingo. This chart should be plastered everywhere. (9+ / 0-)

    In a sane world, it would lead off every single traditional media report on the workforce, labor, the middle class, the economy, poverty, and on and on....

    This chart explains virtually everything that's wrong with the U.S. socially and economically since the early 1970s. It explains how our Galtian overlords have been able to pit white working class folks against minorities time and again, preventing them from realizing who's really been screwing them. Because if people ever really understood this chart, it would be time for the pitchforks & torches.

    •  Right, but what is the core of their power? (0+ / 0-)

      Fiat paper is the money of slaves.
      Gold is the money of free men.

      This chart needs a dot on 1971: Bretton Woods, Nixon closes all ties of USD/FRN to gold.
      Hyperinflation anyone?

      Who was is that said give me control of a nations money and i care not who writes its laws...
      But what about when they control the money AND the government?

  •  It's called Reaganomics ... (5+ / 0-)

    My guess is the part of a knee jerk right wing response would be about technology making individual workers more productive. My knee jerk New Dealer response is this is economically unhealthy and socially unsustainable. How can we, as Democrats, get past the culture wars and the corporate DINOs and build an electoral coalition that rebuilds our economy from the ground up? After, of course, November because until then it's all about the street fights.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Wed May 02, 2012 at 09:57:04 AM PDT

    •  Sraffa (the real one) demolished (0+ / 0-)

      that argument long ago.

      "The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends." -Julian Assange

      by Pierro Sraffa on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:00:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my knee jerk reaction. (0+ / 0-)

      1971: Nixon closes the gold window, inflation inflation inflation.
      When the Federal Reserve prints trillions upon trillions of dollars unrestrained the past 41 years your bound to see some blowback.
      Gold was our last restraint on the elites... But you New Dealers came along and confiscated all the gold and got us into this mess. Now all gold is in the hands of the elites at $1600+/oz when it was just $20/oz. Thanks a lot.

      Fiat paper is the money of slaves.
      Gold is the money of the free.

  •  Only 24hrs in a day, productivity per hr is finite (0+ / 0-)
  •  The top line (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, fladem, salmo, sebastianguy99

    represents two events: the beginning of "globalization" and that is where the real trouble began, because they just started shuttering factories wholesale and creating widespread insecurity as work was offshored, and 2. the microprocessor revolution, which vastly improved productivity without increasing wage pressure. Those continue to be two big problems with wages.

    •  Har!! (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, keep talking about how allowing foreigners to take part in modern economics and how employing computers to produce are "big problems."

      Oh yeah, more stuff for everyone with less work is a problem.

      Welcome to the 18th century!

      -6.12 -4.87 I don’t need insurance I need health care. You have sick people and doctors. Any third parties looking to profit from disease should go to hell. (Stolen from a comment somewhere on the Internet.)

      by jestbill on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:39:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is a problem, billy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because the "global labor market" is not a level playing field, and going to a global market allowed corporations to bypass health and safety, environmental and wage regulations. This was unfair to American workers, and of course continues to depress wages. Also, Billy, computers have enhanced life in many respects, but they have rendered many workers redundant or irrelevant. Since they leverage more productivity without wage pressure, they have had the effect of depressing wages. There are historical parallels to this, where technological innovation causes huge disruptions in the lifeways of workers, and leads to much suffering. Consider the invention of the automatic loom in Britain, which displaced so many weavers that they literally starved to death. In one case weavers attacked the factory and smashed the looms. They are now referred to as the Luddites. Sometimes when you open your mouth to be sarcastic you reveal yourself as an idiot. Watch it.

        •  duh. (0+ / 0-)

          My point,[no ad hominem here], is that it is NOT a "problem" to produce more or to spread the wealth.

          The "problem" is in the system of distribution.  As long as you worship the concept of "jobs" you will always and forever sound like a Luddite yourself.

          -6.12 -4.87 I don’t need insurance I need health care. You have sick people and doctors. Any third parties looking to profit from disease should go to hell. (Stolen from a comment somewhere on the Internet.)

          by jestbill on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:21:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think that there was a shift with off-shoring (0+ / 0-)

      I think that there was a shift with off-shoring and the micro-processor revolution, but that was a decade away when this started.  I remember doing computer dependent research in the early '70's, when I had to rent the largest computer in the State for a weekend at a time to run my programs.  It was the whole the University of Maine's system.  I shut off everyone else off while it ran programs that took over 1200 pounds of IBM cards to enter.  The cards stuffed my little VW bug full, and the weight actually bent the rear axel.  I had six multi-level disk packs that had to be mounted to add additional storage because the job was so large.  That machine had a capacity of about 1.2 megabytes.  Awesome as it was at the time, that capacity did not play a significant role in depressing American wages.

      Immediately before that, I was a graduate student working part time for the US Forest Service's research station co-located at my University.  We were very concerned with the forest industry, and the ways in which its changes were affecting employment and resource use.  Those paper mill jobs were not being off-shored, unless in the same way that Hawaii is foreign, South Carolina and Georgia is somehow alien territory.  The role of unions, and unionization, in that change should not be underestimated.  It is also worth mentioning that the political choices of the "white working class" that shifted its allegiance following Johnson's courageous stands on things like the Voting Rights Act.  The new Republican base prioritized racism and resentment over its economic interests.  You see the results.  

      •  good point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the good jobs first went south to non union states, then away for good. But remember, significant imports from low wge countries started in the 70's, maybe not perfect correlation, but by early 80's both factors were undeniably at work.

  •  Among others.... (0+ / 0-)

    Reagan: The Farm Crisis.

    Ponytailed Proboys and Publishers: The Indie Comic Crash

    Pearlman: Heroesworld.

    Long: "Everybody will keep their jobs at JSV and things will be better!"

    Fiorina: "If everybody works hard and beats the production targets, we will keep the plant open and things will be better!"

    Now I'm hoping that I don't get Obama'ed or Issa'ed out of my job at the USPS.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:03:54 AM PDT

  •  note the correlation with this graph (10+ / 0-)

    I think one can safely conclude that the top 5% pretty much got all those productivity gains.  

    you don't need to read my comments. this is not the sigline you're looking for. Move along.

    by bubbanomics on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:03:55 AM PDT

  •  It used to be that having wealth and power (6+ / 0-)

    required one to use it benevolently and fairly and be a steward of the economy. This was never a universally practiced rule, of course, but more so than it's been for decades. Such "noblesse oblige" was at the heart of the old GOP--of those who have much, much is expected. Wealth was still very unequally distributed, but far less so than today. It wasn't ideal, but it was a kind of understanding between the rich and everyone else. Today's GOP and their neoliberal allies have destroyed that with economic Darwinism--get rich any way you can and screw the rest.

    They're not going to change, of course. Not on their own. These are not your grandfather's Repubs. Only we can force them to change. Which we have to. And if they still won't change, we have to push them out of the way.

    Darwinism works in mysterious ways, sometimes.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:04:23 AM PDT

    •  The flip side of noblesse oblige... (6+ / 0-)

      was that if you didn't take care of your people, they'd kill you.

      Or at least stand idly by while someone else killed you or took your property.

      •  If you mean a metaphorical and economic (0+ / 0-)

        form of murder--the destruction of their wealth and means of exploitation--then they have it coming. The real kind needs to stay in the past. Plus, it's much more fun to watch a formerly rich asshole get thrown into the economic gutter. Or jail.

        Whatever happened to Dennis Kuslowski?

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:35:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Family owned industries are different (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thinking of the family owned industries that used to provide the majority of good jobs around here, vs the national and international corporations that now dominate our landscape, the key differences revolve around management horizons and local multipliers.  Those family owned companies thought in terms of decades, they were satisfied with rates of return in the 15% range, and most of their expenses circulated money locally.  I knew the CFO of a local paper mill pretty well.  He told me that when his company was purchased by a multi-national corporation, the principle focus shifted to the next quarter, the rate of return expected rose to about 25%, and much of the procurement shifted to other multi-nationals, where significant outflows from the local economy were assured.  When they off-shored those jobs, the multi-national made sure it broke up the company so that no competition could grow again in an market where those 15% rates of return were still available.

      •  Koch Industries is still family-owned (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, bartcopfan

        Costco is a large multinational corporation.

        Just sayin', it's not a hard and fast rule. I think it's less about the form of ownership than about who's the owner and what their morals are.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:23:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I should have been more specific (0+ / 0-)

          Local, family owned corporations were far more responsible.  This is not to say that they were saints, but they did build very different communities than we are seeing now.  The guys I used to know who ran those companies were engineers.  Now, they are MBA's.  That seems to have made a difference.  I think that there are issues to be addressed on the corporate and capital side that might respond to regulations and laws.  That's why our overlords spend so much controlling the process by which regulations and laws are changed.  So, we ought to consider other avenues.  

          The leverage to change our nation's economy towards one that supports the middle and working classes lies in ourselves, in our willingness to collectively address our needs.  What I think changed in the early 70"s was the politics of unions, specifically the change in support for Republicans and the way racism played out in that mix.  The way back is through a thorough examination of that history and a discussion of how its legacy threatens our nation now.  No one should be surprised that "we have met the enemy, and he is us."  

  •  My privately held company (15+ / 0-)

    was recently sold to an equity company.  The previous owner had started the company thirty years ago and had always been extremely generous to his employees.  We had profit sharing, excellent benefits package and he gave away thousands of dollars at a company Christmas party every year.  He new every employee by name.  This is a Titanium Foundry and we make small and medium castings for the aerospace industry.  A nice mix of customers that do and don't have Government contracts.  It's been about seven months since the sale and the culture has changed dramatically.  It's all about the bottom line and obvious that these suits (who we never see) don't give a shit about the product or our efforts except as they impact their bottom line.  It sucks to come to work here now and I'm holding on until I can retire or can't walk anymore.  Sigh.

    •  Very often the case. (5+ / 0-)

      Ask almost anyone who worked for a going concern that got bought out by venture capitalists.

      The nature of the business changes, because the old owners were in the business for the sake of the business. Investment capital (very openly and with purpose) buys these businesses for their ability to extract money from them.

      You can extract money from profits, of course. But you can extract more, faster, from other assets.

      So when a company is bought out, particularly when it's bought out with debt, you start to see pension funds emptied, wages and benefits cut, employees laid off, and credit lines drained. That's the way you recover the costs and start paying yourself for the genius idea of buying a company that was making money.

    •  That is a story that can be told about... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, tardis10, Eric Nelson, TexasTom

      ...many, many industries from your kind of shop to the typical newspaper.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:35:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The equity company (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      wouldn't be associated with Tagg Romney, would it? The man who started with a mere $20,000,000 nest egg?

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:46:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A foreign company acquired my previous company. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Before the purchase, 10% of the value of each employees annual salary was put into retirement and an additional 5% was given in bonuses. After the acquisition, it was no bonus and matching 401K up to 3% of our annual salary. Also raises were suspended in many departments because employees were making more than the "market standard".

      I left the company because of it and took a lower paying job elsewhere.

      If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

      by HairyTrueMan on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:30:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Illuminating Chart - what happened in about 1972 (0+ / 0-)

    It's clear that a radical shift in the mechanism by which the division of rewards between labor and capital is set occurred around 1972, not later with the PATCO firings or other conservative attacks on labor.  What happened?  It doesn't appear to be a legal change, inasmuch as no significant new labor laws seem to have been passed around that time.  Instead, we should look to social factors.  The transition to a MBA management model was well underway then, and at the same time, I recall that unions moved away from leading progressives.  I think is was the combination that produced the result we now see as so damaging to our nation.  There is little that the vast majority of Americans can do directly about the financialization of American industry and commerce, but perhaps our unions recognize an opportunity.  To make that work, the sense of mission has to start with the rank and file, the very people now largely making up the "white, working class" base of the Republican Party.  

  •  It started with Reagan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, roadbear

    as it so often does.

    “Are you calling the Koch brothers during the recess?” - Henry Waxman

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:10:05 AM PDT

  •  This is EXACTLY where the "fair share" argument is (5+ / 0-)

    The middle class, the average worker, has been disadvantaged for 30-40 years. The wealthy have not.

    As a result, they are NOT currently paying their fair share, and the average Joe worker has been paying too much, given his contributions to the productivity gains.

    And so, to make it "FAIR", the richest Americans need to pay more to keep our country running, since they're the ones who've gotten the profits from the productivity gains that have been, basically, stolen from the middle class since the 1980's.

  •  Automation is a big factor in this chart. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fladem, Lorpius Prime

    I'll give you an example.

    I worked for an auto insurance carrier in the 1990s as a systems analyst. When I started, the company had a complex process for driving records. The insurance applications would be forwarded by mail room staff to a data entry clerk who would input the driver license numbers into a vendors software. At the end of the day, the orders would be transmitted via modem to the vendor.

    The following morning, the data entry clerk would request the reports from the previous day's order. He printed the reports on a slow dot matrix printer and then removed the sides and separated the sheets. He then attached the records to the appropriate folders and forwarded the paper files to the Underwriting Department.

    The underwriters had to type all of the information into the mainframe computer system. The information included dates, violations and other information. It was a tedious process. In many cases, the underwriters would have to send the paper folders back to data entry to order additional information from the driving records vendor.

    I was assigned to a project to automate this process. I took the data feed from the vendor and automatically moved the information into our mainframe as a first step. This eliminated the printing of the driving records and the data entry of the information, not to mention the routing of the paper files.

    Voila, we were more than twice as efficient and needed fewer file clerks, data entry personnel and underwriters.

    This was just one of many projects that improved efficiency while reducing the workforce.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:11:43 AM PDT

    •  Somebody has to design the automation and make it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, Tonedevil

      Automation has VERY LITTLE to do with it........


      We gave the "job creators" HUGE tax breaks.....and they kept the money and shipped the jobs overseas...!!!!!!

    •  We've had leaps in productivity before (10+ / 0-)

      And in previous generations, the increase in profits due to those innovations (standardized parts, assembly lines, better machines, beginning computerization, etc) were shared by the owners of and investors in the businesses as well as the workers who were directly responsible for the productivity gains.

      That profit-sharing allowed businesses to fund retirement plans. It let them give better vacations to their employees, as well as fund health care benefits. It allowed them to pay employees well enough that one worker could support a family and buy a home and maybe even two new cars.

      We've lost that with the most recent productivy gains that are due to the PC and the computerization of almost every industry. The worker's wages  have been stagnant, and their benefits, retirement programs, and job security have disappeared.

    •  But does that require that the workers don't (5+ / 0-)

      get to share in the 'extra' profitibiity of the company in the way of better wages??

    •  Automation should make us all richer, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HairyTrueMan, Tonedevil

      conservative ideology prevents us from trying to figure out how to make the economic gains available to everybody.  Imagine the limit case, where machines do 90% of the jobs in the economy.  Conservative ideology would make most people destitute, because their labor would have little value.  We need to start working on a new system that allows the benefits of increased productivity to be spread to everyone.  Current politicians are totally clueless about the need to think about this.

      The difference in the technology now versus technology changes in the past is that technology is no longer just replacing muscle with machine power, but replacing human information processing with machine information processing.  The old claim that technology will replace old jobs with new kinds of jobs might not be true in this new situation, which is unprecedented in history.

      "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

      by Thutmose V on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:09:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Greed is the impediment. (0+ / 0-)

        Investors don't care about personnel until it affects their bottom line. And corporate management follows suit.

        I think the issue is Capitalism.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:24:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Union Catepillar employees at the Juliette, Il (6+ / 0-)

    plant went on strike yesterday after failing to pass an agreement with management.  I can't remember the union they belong to other than it's not UAW.  The offer from management was basically a pay freeze for 6 years and nearly doubling the amount the employee paid towards health insurance/benefits.

    I have no idea what the health insurance/benefits are for Cat, so I can't comment on that.  But, I sure as hell wouldn't stand for no raises of any kind for 6 years.

    That's what the workers are up against.

  •  Wow (5+ / 0-)

    I've been working for 50 years.  For the 1st 10 years I was fairly compensated - for the past 40 I have been screwed.  

    I worked one place where, after 10 years they hired someone to do the same job (admin. asst.) for another administrator.  They started her salary @ $5,000 more per year than I was making.  Of course, they forgot that I was the person who did payroll (in addition to the assistant's duties!) so I raised holy hell and got the $5,000 raise.  After 6 months the other person quit, and the next person they hired was paid $5,000 less than I.  

    Turns out I STILL got screwed.  

  •  1980, again (8+ / 0-)

    It never fails to amaze me just how many of these charts people post here on Daily Kos show a marked divergence from historical norms starting in 1980. Every bad thing that's happened that is still happening economically started in 1980. Someone with some time should post all of them, lining up the 1980s.

    That's when we lost America and found ourselves living in a 1950s black-and-white television America.

    -5.38 -4.72 T. Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

    by trevzb on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:14:39 AM PDT

    •  So ... (0+ / 0-)

      What brain-damaging chemical came into widespread use in the 1935-45 span?
      The '70's and '80's would be when kiddies exposed to it would have been reaching the levers of power.

      (Just my pet theory.)

      -6.12 -4.87 I don’t need insurance I need health care. You have sick people and doctors. Any third parties looking to profit from disease should go to hell. (Stolen from a comment somewhere on the Internet.)

      by jestbill on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:52:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OCCUPY......NOW I GET IT.....!!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    We've got them where we want them....!!!!!

    120,000 jobs created in April....though that's more than GW Bush and Mitt Romeny E-V-E-R created's not enough....!!!!    


    Occupy the Corporations...!!!!  Either invest in America, or Go Out of Business....!!!!!    


  •  Any idea when the first right to work law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    was passed?

    Occupy the voting Booth!

    by anonevent on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:16:11 AM PDT

  •  The "JOB CREATORS" stole our money..then shipped (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    our jobs overseas......OCCUPY THEM UNTIL THEY INVEST, HIRE, OR GO OUT OF BUSINESS...!!!!!

  •  Fun with Numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    From the chart, over the last 30 years, productivity has increased an average of about 3% per year.  At the same time, compensation has have increased an average of 3/10% per year.

    Putting it another way, the gap between productivity and compensation has increased an average of 1.1% per year.  Doesn't sound like much, but it compounds; and over 30 years it becomes a significant amount.  From zero in 1972, it goes to 127% of compensation today.

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:18:06 AM PDT

  •  It says it all. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, tardis10, roadbear

    Excellent.  The investor class has grabbed the productivity gains.  

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:18:47 AM PDT

  •  allow a great British post-punk band explain this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Eric Nelson

    via the great Gang of Four, the problem here is the current day vampyric form that the capitalist system has taken.

    Randian for me means "Prince Randian" from the 1930s horror classic Freaks and is not a reference to libertarianism.

    by Randian on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:24:21 AM PDT

  •  excellent chart and explanation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    just shared it with friends.

  •  So if your rich (1%er) the proper incentive to .. (5+ / 0-)

    .."work harder"  is the gift of more tax cuts.
    But if you really do actually work for your pay (99%ers) the proper incentive to work harder is to get paid less & have tax hikes.

    Worker incentive = punishment vs elite incentive = reward - that about it?

  •  Isn't This Mainline Collusion? (0+ / 0-)

    Aren't they all just colluding to depress wages?

  •  since Daddy Bush's term (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been witnessing mainstream economists
    a)shrug their shoulders at this statistical red flag or
    b) ignore it.

    The economists whom I respect, however, are generally the ones who brought it to my attention way back in the gauzy 1980's...

  •  Large Productivity "Gains" from outsourcing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If is frequently important to know what economic indicators actually measure rather than what most people assume.  Frequently the impact of international trade is critical to understanding national indicators.  

    "Labor productivity is the ratio of the output of goods and services to the labor hours devoted to the production of that output." see

    But the only labor that counts in the calculation is US labor. So if a supplier outside the US replaced some US workers - the total US labor hours drop and US labor productivity increases.  This is true even if the non-US workforce used twice as many labor hours - as their labor hours are not part of the calculation.

    When companies outsource manufacturing and services, labor hours drop, so labor productivity goes up even if what remaining US employees do does not change at all.

    So much of these national productivity gains are actually an illusion and not what most people would imagine.

    Loss of jobs for low skill/low wage employees (as is the case today) can also increase national productivity indicator, as the value of production of these workers per hour are generally much lower than high skill/high wage employees - so the loss of these jobs increase the average productivity.  

    When looking at the country, a better measure of productivity to match what most people imagine it measures would be to use total GDP divided by the total US labor hours available - including those of the unemployed and under-employed.  This would also be a far better indicator for policy makers.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:37:14 AM PDT

  •  Economic Inequality (0+ / 0-)

    Too bad the institutional Democratic Party not only allowed this to happen, but actually supported policies to make it a reality.  Never could understand the popularity of Bill Clinton within the party;  he, as much as any other politician, is responsible for the increased and continuing to rise inequality in income and wealth.  But, what the hey, good ol' Bill is a Democrat so he had to be supported by "progressives".

  •  Sending Galt (0+ / 0-)

    We need a new term; "Sending Galt", where we ship rich parasites like Romney off to an island so we don't have to deal with them anymore.

    If an asteroid was hurtling toward Earth, Republicans would refuse to consider any plan that didn't include tax breaks for the rich.

    by Brix on Wed May 02, 2012 at 10:59:06 AM PDT

    •  It's not the politicians..!!!! It's the populus (0+ / 0-)

      that elects them...!!!!!!!

      •  I wasn't talking about Romney the politician (0+ / 0-)

        I'm talking about Romney the non-contributing PoS who siphons 20 mil a year off of working people.

        All demand, no supply. The only thing we'd lose if the Romneys 'went Galt' would be the sucking sound that worthless family makes.

        If an asteroid was hurtling toward Earth, Republicans would refuse to consider any plan that didn't include tax breaks for the rich.

        by Brix on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:41:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Chart Has Major Technical Problems (0+ / 0-)

    The chart has its origins from a report The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth, By Lawrence Mishel, April 26, 2012

    Problems with the chart include:

    The report discloses the data source as from unpublished sources - I am not a big fan of unpublished data and there is no place to see how the unpublished data was analyzed. Regarding the chart used in the diary, the report actually says about this chart:

    Source: Author's analysis of unpublished total economy data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Productivity and Costs program and Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts public data series
    The Productivity curve is based on an average for the entire economy, while the compensation is based on a median of a subset of the workforce.  

    The Productivity Curve takes the total production of the Entire Economy (Private sector, Non-Profit Sector and Government), while the "Hourly Compensation" only includes a slice "private-sector production/nonsupervisory workers."  So the rapid rise of the government sector (esp. state and local) is excluded in Compensation but included in Productivity.  The same problem exists for the rise of educated professionals in the economy are excluded - engineers, healthcare, legal, etc.).

    Hourly Compensation appears to not include the total employee cost but only immediate cash compensation and excludes health insurance which had very high costs, pension and 401 K contributions and the increase in the employer payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:18:51 AM PDT

    •  I've long wondered how long this sort of B.S... (0+ / 0-)

      would continue.  Let's get one thing very clear.  If the employer does not gain at least as much as the employed in the arrangement, the arrangement is discontinued.  You can obfuscate all you want about "non-cash compensation" but in the end these are all calculated into the equation.  In other words, if you make $70K in salary, $20K in benefits and $10K in associated salary based taxes and fees (not income tax, that comes out of your share), your employer is gaining at least an additional $100K in his pocket.  This chart shows that the employer's share as escalated as the employee's has remained static.

      You have the right to remain silent. If you waive that right you will be accused of class warfare.

      by spritegeezer on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:43:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Chart Has lots of problems (0+ / 0-)

        relative to what an economist would expect from a peer.

        What you are saying is likely true, but the chart does not show it because it has so many technical problems.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:02:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So....plenty of screwage to go around. (0+ / 0-)

    Including outsourcing to India, China, etc, H1b visas and refusal to admit that immigration is more than just an issue for racists.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:30:36 AM PDT

  •  Well this is a little odd. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it seems to suggest that any time a democrat was able to influence policy, it increased, only to immediately stagnate again once a republican came into power. But...but that cant be right. I mean the republicans are the Right to Work party! Thats what they say on the TV! And the TV cant LIE.

    Oh you dailykosers and your crazy conspiracy theories. do you really think that Fox News AND would BOTH be lying? Thats a bit of a stretch and I DEMAND you apologize at once.

    I always wondered what kind of person could do such a thing. But now that I see you, I think I understand. There’s just nothing inside you. Nothing at all. You’re pathetic and sad and empty.

    by kamrom on Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:40:18 AM PDT

  •  This chart woul be stronger if it also had a line (0+ / 0-)

    for the income increase of the 1%.  I believe this would track (maybe exceed) the rise in productivity.

    Someone good with charts?

  •  Note the dip starting in 1977 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Would the increasing gap have anything to do with the rush to deregulation that started under President Carter? Such as railroads, trucking, telecom, airlines, etc. All of which were decently-paid unionized workplaces.

    Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

    by edg on Wed May 02, 2012 at 12:51:53 PM PDT

  •  GOP Policy in a nutshell: (0+ / 0-)

    If you work for your money, you need to make more sacrifices and pay more tax.
    If your money works for you, you should not be required to pay any taxes on the income.
    If other people's money works for you, no tax on that income at all, we love you the most and will be there to help you out if you blow it all at the casino. The help will come as more of other people's money.

  •  You Are Making 1/2 What You Should Be (0+ / 0-)

    I don't suppose you'd give me credit for pointing this out REPEATEDLY but you are being paid about half what you should be.

    So far, I've made thousands of comments on Daily Kos and written over a hundred diaries. Probably 10% of those are about this very issue.

    According to my sources, wages for non-supervisory workers dropped since the 1970s while productivity has gone up over 80%. As you can see from the chart wages used to track productivity through the 20th century, until the 1970s. What happened then that changed this pattern?

    In a word or two "free trade". The U.S. made it national policy to unilaterally drop our tariffs and disarm on trade. As a result, manufacturing peaked here in 1978. Manufacturing is the archetypal wealth-producing sector, where the bulk of wealth-producing jobs are located.

    What happens if you stop producing wealth but you want to maintain your standard of living? You borrow money or sell off assets. That's exactly what the U.S. did for thirty years. Until we ran out of assets we could sell off or borrow against. (Borrowing on homes was the last gasp of this.)

    If you wanted to deliberately impoverish a nation what better way would you have than getting rid of all the wealth-producing jobs?

    And what would you do if you impoverished a country? Well, you'd loot the government, too, and borrow as much as you could on the government's credit to squeeze out the last dollar. You'd then cut services so that the people you left high and dry were the ones left to pick up the bill.

    We need to reverse this as quickly as possible. We need a uniform tariff of at least 10% and an international minimum wage. That's how you put a stop to this.

    Look at that chart. What do you see? You see the effects of bad trade policy. You see the effects of a national policy to ship wealth-producing jobs overseas and hold down wages.

    The only question is when we are going to have the mass movement needed to reverse that trend and pay people what they're worth.

  •  Don't want to sound like a rentier, but (0+ / 0-)

    while the executives got a few percent of that, most of it went in to the pockets of the equity stock owners, so there is the curious situation of an unemployable engineer such as myself (i.e.. unemployability due to age and outsourcing) who has a decent (although not quite enough) nest egg hat has done well (the latest crash notwithstanding.)

    Rather than complain about employment falling flat due to an oversupply of labor (especially considering the global labor pool), we should work toward more progressive tax rates on the wealthy, and especially the rentier wealthy.  I myself advocate confiscatory taxes on the wealthy to provide for a robust social welfare state.

  •  Lines Separate in 1971 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is when Richard Nixon removed the last remains of the gold standard for the Dollar in order to pay for the Vietnam War.
    Inflation made easier by fiat money hurts the low and middle classes the disproportionately.
    I'm a 20-year economist and investment professional.
    Throughout history there are innumerable examples of government's debasing currency to ramp up for war...another thing that disproportionately hurts poor and middle class families...

    •  exactly! its the banking/ monetary system (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The 1% must have a goverment (corporate controlled) monopoly on the fiat money printing press. When currencies are debased for the benefit of banks and financial institutions (1%) who dont like capitalism when it means they go bankrupt, it is the poor people who are hurt the most. The little money/ wages we DO have becomes less and less valuable while the rich get their secret bailout printed up by the Federal Reserve.

      Closing the gold window effectivley unleashed the last restraint of the people upon the 1%. And at this point our dollars are worthless compared to gold, when it was confiscated under FDR, gold was $20/oz... Now its more like $1600/oz hows that for effective stabilization of prices? This is how the 1% have stolen the wealth of the 99%

      Tell me im wrong!

  •  how unions and wage controls actually work (0+ / 0-)

    In absolute, non-political, practical terms, unions obtain benefits for a small set of workers by excluding other workers from the jobs. When you use the Orwellian term "withhold labor," it should be acknowledged that this means punishing, through violence and threats, other workers who want to contract at a rate of pay that you disagree with....Likewise, minimum wage laws force worker and employer to contract under terms that neither may want, in order to achieve some faceless third party's notion of the greater good. Both policies grow out of middle school-level hostility toward businessmen. Both are devastating primarily to workers.

    A business at the mercy of state-backed unions will always come up short when it must compete with businesses that can employ or not employ on their own terms, or businesses that are so large that they can absorb the burden of excessive worker compensation....when the unionized business fails, all the jobs it offered are gone, and there is less competition in the marketplace for whatever product or service it offered, meaning that prices go up and quality goes down to one degree or another for consumers. Workers, who are also consumers, lose out on two fronts. The job pool shrinks, and the pool of goods and services they use in their off-time shrinks.

    Minimum wage laws force businesses to use whatever money they allot for wages in a particular way. The strategy punishes workers who may only be worth $5 an hour, or who may be perfectly willing to work for less because it's preferable to not working in a tough job market. It also punishes businesses that are trying to grow and participate in the economy to a greater extent. Without minimum wage laws a small business owner like myself may have ten employees at $5 an hour, grow my business through increased productivity, and next year pay the most effective employees $15 an hour, and hire 20 more at $5 an hour. Meanwhile, my product will get cheaper and better, and whatever off-duty workers I sell to will get more value from their earnings.

    See how that works? More money flowing to the workforce overall, and more benefits to the workers and their families when they need goods and services.

    The thinking behind unions and wage control laws is that the evil businessmen are taking all the wealth, and we must hold them at gunpoint and take it back. This ignores the most basic, logical, sane economics, and reduces the whole discussion to what is more or less a tantrum by people who are trained to believe they are victims.

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