Are American workers paid enough? That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours. Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation. Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour. That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges. Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today. And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74. If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year. That isn’t a lot of money, but according to the Social Security Administration, 40.28% of all workers make less than $20,000 a year in America today. So that means that more than 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968. That is how far we have fallen.
The other day I wrote an article which discussed the transition that we are witnessing in our economy right now. Good paying full-time jobs are disappearing, and they are being replaced by low paying part-time jobs. So far this year, 76.7 percent of the jobs that have been “created” in the U.S. economy have been part-time jobs.
That would be depressing enough, but what makes it worse is that wages for many of these low paying jobs have actually been declining over the past decade even as the cost of living keeps going up. The following is from a recent USA Today article…
In the years between 2002 and 2012, real median wages dropped by at least 5% in five of the top 10 low-wage jobs, including food preparers and housekeepers.
So where have the good jobs gone?
Well, there are three long-term trends that are absolutely crushing American workers right now.
First of all, thanks to our very foolish politicians American workers have been merged into a global labor pool where they must directly compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the planet that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. This has resulted in millions upon millions of good jobs leaving this country. Big corporations can pad their profits by taking a job from an American worker making $15 an hour with benefits and giving it to a worker on the other side of the globe that is willing to work for less than a dollar an hour with no benefits. Our politicians could do something about this, but they refuse to do so. Most of them are absolutely married to the idea of a one world economic system that will unite the globe. Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is going to continue to lose tens of thousands of businesses and millions upon millions of jobs to this one world economic system.
Secondly, big corporations are replacing as many expensive workers with machines, computers and robots as they possibly can. As technology continues to advance at a blistering pace, the need for workers (especially low-skilled workers) will continue to decrease. Unfortunately, the jobs that are being lost to technology are not coming back any time soon.
Thirdly, the overall U.S. economy has been steadily declining for more than a decade. If you doubt this, just read this article. As our economy continues to get weaker, the lack of jobs is going to become a bigger and bigger problem.
And as our economy systematically loses good jobs, more Americans are forced to become dependent on the government.
Back in 1979, there was about one American on food stamps for every manufacturing job. Today, there are about four Americans on food stamps for every manufacturing job.
When I first found that statistic I was absolutely stunned. How in the world can anyone out there deny that the U.S. economy is collapsing?