Wages Have Gotten Worse

Source: BLS

From a Bureau of Labor Statistics press release:

06/10/2021
Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.2 percent in May, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings increased 0.5 percent and CPI-U increased 0.6 percent. Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.1 percent over the month.

Yet red states have been cutting unemployment benefits in an effort to force people to take a job–even if it’s low-paying.

Related:

These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more (WaPo)

Leaked: The Rich Pay Less Taxes Than Wage-Earners

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica

Generally, the wealthy of all stripes keep their tax rates low in multiple ways. Some are simple: They avoid forms of income, like wages, that are taxed at a high rate, 37%, and instead make most of their money via capital gains and dividends from investments, most of which is taxed at 20%.

You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire

Republicans Creating Inflation Fear: Fuhgeddaboudit

Slight increases in the rate of inflation in the United States and Europe have triggered financial-market anxieties. Has US President Joe Biden’s administration risked overheating the economy with its $1.9 trillion rescue package and plans for additional spending to invest in infrastructure, job creation, and bolstering American families?

Such concerns are premature, considering the deep uncertainty we still face. We have never before experienced a pandemic-induced downturn featuring a disproportionately steep service-sector recession, unprecedented increases in inequality, and soaring savings rates.

Joseph Stiglitz

Offshoring: U.S. Corporations Don’t Want You to Know What They Sell from Overseas

Amazon and other retailers oppose measure to require country-of-origin labeling for goods sold online.

Amazon and other retailers are opposing a bipartisan measure that would require online sellers to clearly state where their products are made, a rule proponents say could help consumers seeking U.S.-made goods.

WaPo

Related:

NOT Made in America: Top 10 Ways Walmart Destroys US Manufacturing Jobs

Veterans, McDonalds, and Low Wages

This puts doubt on Republicans’ assertions that if you force people into poverty, they’ll find decent jobs:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – McDonald’s workers in West Virginia, many of whom are military veterans, are rallying today in Charleston to demand a $15 minimum wage, after the company announced it would boost wages for 3,600 hourly workers by an average of 10% over the next few months. The average McDonald’s worker currently earns around $8 an hour.

Public Service News

It’s the Wages & Benefits, Stupid.

After businesses complained they can’t find enough people to keep their doors open Indiana is set to become the latest state to bring back a requirement that unemployed workers will have to actively search for jobs to get benefits.

“Unemployment has been extended again, stimulus money again – you know, if you’ve got a couple of kids you’re really getting a lot of stimulus money,” Hunter said. “It’s good for them, but it’s bad for me.”

Hunter’s assumption is a common refrain from business owners, the reality is more complicated.

Micah Pollak, a professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest, said plenty of studies have shown that unemployment benefits are not, by and large, keeping people from taking jobs. Instead it boils down to wages.

“I think it’s kind of like a cop-out for business owners to say that because it puts all the blame on the workers and then they don’t take any responsibility for what’s happening,” Pollak said. “I mean, if a couple hundred dollars a week is enough to convince a worker not to work for you, then I think you need to question what kind of work environment and pay are you offering.”

Indiana Public Media

Republicans’ “Economic Miracle”: Tax Cuts. Don’t believe it.

I live and work in the Midwest, which remains locked in a half-century doldrum of population stagnation, locally concentrated job losses and decay. In many ways, the Rust Belt is emblematic of the lack of focus on value to residents. Indiana is the perfect example, since no state in the Rust Belt has cut taxes as aggressively as this one. A decade ago, local property tax caps were added to the Constitution, limiting local spending. Then corporate taxes were cut, and income taxes cut. All of this was done with the hopes of boosting population and economic growth. 

That didn’t happen. Indiana’s economic recovery from the Great Recession was no more than lackluster, and the clearest result of the rush to cut taxes was to make Indiana a magnet for low-wage employers. The state’s per-capita income dropped to 86% of that of the nation as a whole, down from near 90% in 2012. Half of all job growth went to adult workers without a high school diploma.  

The lesson here is that selling your state on price instead of value is likely to draw bargain shoppers. These businesses will view the workforce as a commodity. That is a poor harbinger for the future.

MarketWatch