6 September 2004

Happy Labor Day!

Just in time for Labor Day, some rather depressing economic figures have just come out:

According to the Economic Policy Institute's biannual study, "Many of the problems that beset working Americans in the 2001 recession and protracted jobless recovery persist today." The report mentions the stagnant hourly wage rate and the growing number of unemployed. According to the report, "The United States has been tracking employment statistics since 1939, and never in history has it taken this long to regain jobs lost over a downturn."

Even more damning, real personal income has grown at 1.9% (last 12 months), but productivity has grown by 3 to 4%! With all those extra widgets coming out of the end of the assembly line, you'd think some of the folks in the blue overalls might be getting a few pats on the back (as well as a 5% raise) but evidently those at the top need this extra cash (along with the tax-cut from Shrub). We really shouldn't poke too much fun at these people. It's hard to play golf all day and those flights from golf course to golf course really are quite expensive. (And have you seen the price of cognac these day?! My gracious, it's going through the roof!)

Dispatch from the Trenches has some excellent economic commentary on recent economic trends. I found the following passage of particular interest:

"From 2000 through 2003 the median household income fell by $1,500 (in 2003 dollars) - a significant 3.4 percent decrease. That information becomes startling when you consider that during the same period there was a strong 12 percent increase in productivity among U.S. workers. Economists will tell you that productivity increases go hand-in-hand with increases in the standard of living. But not this time. Here we have a 3.4 percent loss in real income juxtaposed with a big jump in productivity."

And than there's this from Dear Free World (amidst a good discussion of tax codes):

"The super rich make millions because they are thousands of times more productive than you are, so they should get to keep more of taxes than you do, so they have an incentive to work harder when po' folk like yourself don't need one. Right. Sure."

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