No wage growth in over a dozen years, while corporate profits soar


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The "one percent" über-rich plutocrats of The Predator Class are enjoying record corporate profits, even after the catastrophe of the "Bush Great Recession."

For the rest of us shlubs toiling in the working class, our increasing productivity has enured to the benefit of the same "one percent," not to us. Real wages have been stagnant since the "Dot Com Bubble Recession" of 2001, and have not recovered.

Dylan Matthews writes at Ezra Klein's Wonkblog, Between 2000 and 2012, American wages grew…not at all:

You can always rely on the Economic Policy Institute for really
depressing charts about just how far behind the U.S. middle class is
falling, and the latest report
from EPI President Lawrence Mishel and economist Heidi Shierholz is no
exception. The paper — titled “A Decade of Flat Wages” — finds exactly
that. Real hourly wages for people at the middle of the wage
distribution were no higher in 2012 than in 2000. While the early 2000s
saw some growth, it’s all been wiped out since the recession hit, and
hasn’t rebounded at all. [Note: Link to the study or article for interactive data charts.]

Screenshot from 2013-08-22 12:52:35

Indeed, those with only a high school diploma have actually seen wages
fall since 2000. College grads saw stagnant wages, while only those with
advanced degrees actually made gains.

Screenshot from 2013-08-22 12:55:37

Here, you may object that the wage figures don’t include other forms
of compensation, like health and dental benefits or pension plans.
That’s very true, though it’s easy to overstate the importance of that
caveat. More spending on health care shows up as increased compensation
but in many (if not most) cases it doesn’t improve peoples’ lives as
much as just giving them that money would. Indeed, it may not even
improve their health more than just giving the money would. As Berkeley inequality expert Emmanuel Saez once put it,
“the argument (of the right) has to be: cash market income of the
bottom 99 percent of adults has stagnated but the bottom 99 percent get
much more expensive private and government provided health care
benefits, some more government transfers, and they have fewer kids. This
does not seem like a great situation, especially from a conservative
point of view.”

In any case, growth in real compensation has been pretty anemic since 2000 too.

Screenshot from 2013-08-22 12:58:31

Get a load of that productivity line, and how much steeper it is than
the compensation lines. That’s not supposed to happen, and for many
decades, it wasn’t.
In 1996, Paul Krugman observed
that from 1977-1992, “the increases in productivity and compensation
have been almost exactly equal. But then how could it be otherwise? Any
difference in the rates of growth of productivity and compensation would
necessarily show up as a fall in labor’s share of national income — and
as everyone who is even slightly familiar with the numbers knows, the
share of compensation in U.S. national income has been quite stable in
recent decades.” That was true when Krugman wrote it. It’s not true
anymore. Labor’s share of national income is experiencing a serious fall. The benefits of productivity growth are going increasingly to owners of capital, not to labor.


All of this is occurring at a time of record corporate profits. Corporate Profits Soar as Worker Income Limps – It is a new Gilded Age. As Sam Cooke sang, "It's been a long, long time coming,
But I know A Change Is Gonna Come, Oh, yes it will."

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. The so-called “predator” class needs further examination. Charles Murray’s recent book, “Coming Apart” has identified what he calls the New Upper Class in America.
    He used zip postal codes to identify members of this class. Overwhemlingly, they are located in liberal democratic districts of the country in major urban centers mostly on the
    East and West coast. They tend to be graduates of expensive, private, Ivy League universities which has created the political correctness that afflicts the country today. They benefit from tax laws that they created in their own best interests. The other problem with the above figures is that welfare benefits including free health care, food stamps and section 8 housing and a myriad of other benefits are not included in the declining wages of the middle/working classes. In Connecticut, for example, welfare recipients receive the equilivant of $60,000 a year if they were actually working in the private sector. If this were factored into income data, the wage-earning trend line would look very different.

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