LABOR DAY REFLECTIONS: THE PLIGHT OF THE AMERICAN WORKER

(09/05/2008)

COMMENT by Bob Weaver

With America's so called middle-class wages stagnant for a couple decade, with reductions in fringe benefits, the working class has had little support in Washington, bowing to the "trickle down theory.

Raising the national minimum wage has major opposition from politicians representing corporate interests, claiming the increases would be a blow to small business.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week contained good news for corporations, but bad news for the rest of the economy.

The CBO now estimates that the economy will grow even slower than it expected in its previous economic outlook.

Not only that, it now expects that wages and salaries will comprise a smaller portion of that reduced economic pie. The report suggests troubling long-term trends in our economy are getting worse.

Steven Greenhouse notes in the New York Times that “overall employee compensation — including health and retirement benefits — has also slipped badly, falling to its lowest share of national income in more than 50 years while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share over that time,” having risen to the highest levels in history.

Yet while corporate profits are higher than ever, corporations are paying a much smaller portion of the total federal tax burden than they did in the past.

Corporations paid slightly more than 30 percent of total federal taxes in 1953, but only around 10 percent of the total tax burden in 2013.

The annual budget deficit is very low right now. In fact, short-term federal deficits are so low that the CBO projects that the total federal debt will actually fall in each of the next four years as a share of the total economy.

It still projects that federal debt will grow to unsustainable levels in the long-term, due to an aging population, growing health care costs, and an inadequate tax system.

With corporate profits higher than ever, it is only reasonable to expect corporations to contribute their fair share to help solve our long-term budget challenges.

That is not likely.

National media or government rarely report that millions of American jobs, between low-paying to high paying, have been globalized, including over ten thousand jobs in the Little Kanawha and central West Virginia area.

Factoring globalization and the greed mongering of Wall Street and major America banks that plunged the nation in the Great Recession, there has been little uprising from what has been called the American Middle Class.

While some seem to cling to the political spins, others many have oppressively accepted their fate.

Full-time American workers labor the equivalent of nearly an additional day each week, averaging 47 hours instead of the standard 40, according to Gallup poll just released.

The poll says just 42% of full-time employees work 40 hours a week, the traditional total based on five 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. workdays, Gallup said.

"The 40-hour workweek is widely regarded as the standard for full-time employment," Gallup said.

"However, barely four in 10 full-time workers in the U.S. indicate they work precisely this much."

Salaried employees work an average of 49 hours a week, compared with 44 hours for people paid by the hour. A quarter of salaried workers said they spend 60 or more hours a week on the job.

America has a hard-working and dedicated work force, but in West Virginia the state's largest employer is Wal-Mart.


Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal
The information on these pages, to the extent the law allows, remains the exclusive property of Bob Weaver and The Hur Herald. information cannot be not be used in any type of commercial endeavor, or used on a web site without the express permission of the owner. ©Hur Herald Publishing, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017