Monday, January 22, 2018

A big drop in earnings ain't really MAGA, is it?

You can talk about the stock market all you want, but the real evidence that things have gotten better in this country under Donald Trump is if wages get better for everyday working Americans. And last week we had a report released that said that is absolutely not what is happening.

The report came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it had information on how much the typical worker made for wages at the end of 2017.
Median weekly earnings of the nation's 114.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $857 in the fourth quarter of 2017 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 0.9 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.1 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.
Having earnings grow at less than half the rate of inflation is not the way you want to be going, and certainly won't make America Great Again for the "forgotten folks.".

And even worse, those weekly earnings fell off a cliff in the last 3 months 2017.
Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $854 in the fourth quarter of 2017, down from the previous quarter ($866).
That’s $12 decline means a 1.4% drop in 3 months, with the inflation-adjusted decrease being 2.3%. Those are the largest one quarter drops from earnings since at least 2007 (that’s as far back as the records go on this stat), and it erodes all progress that had been made in real median weekly earnings over the last 2 years.

Now maybe this is some weird one-quarter fluke or has been misreported in some way and the numbers will be corrected in the near future. But if that lower 4th quarter figure does hold, shouldn’t a significant drop in weekly earnings be considered a big deal? And why wasn’t any of this covered in our media or mentioned by our politicians?

Keep it on your radar for later this year, because if earnings stay at the lower level that we saw at the end of 2017, the tax cuts that Trump and the GOP will try to talk up will seem very hollow and out of touch with the needs of people with real jobs. Because people don't need tax cuts in America - they need a FREAKING RAISE, and it doesn't look like it's happening after 1 year of the Trump Presidency.

1 comment:

  1. Most Wisconsinites are truly suffering under the weak economy and bad taxation that Scott Walker et al has brought to this State. When the few well-off connecteds live just fine off the supply-side, while the rest of us are left to languish, it's disheartening to expect people to vote when they are offered nothing to change this scenario.

    My view of our bad economy is well described by a Marxian professor Richard Wolff, as Marx and socialism asked very good questions about capitalism (see While I've always felt myself to be capitalist, I and others really have bad opinion about capitalism as practiced in the USA for the last 40 years, and especially here in WI since 2010.

    Wolff's solution is promoting cooperatives, which is fine but is stark compared to what we are now forced to face.