August 28, 2006

Bad news for America's workers, but we already knew it

Bad news for America's workers:
The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation's living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.
Lest you think this is just a blip to be ignored:
Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, did not specifically discuss wages, but he warned that the unequal distribution of the economy's spoils could derail the trade liberalization of recent decades. Because recent economic changes "threaten the livelihoods of some workers and the profits of some firms," Mr. Bernanke said, policy makers must try "to ensure that the benefits of global economic integration are sufficiently widely shared."
It's important that "unequal distribution" get turned around soon. Unless your congress critter has a clear plan for doing so, it's probably a good idea to vote them out this election. This article in the New York Times seems to think Republicans will take the hardest hit.

What do you think? Has your earning power actually declined when you consider inflation (gas prices anyone?) or are you better off today than you were three years ago? (Link)

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