The Oligarch Recovery – Study Shows Real Wages Have Plunged for Low Income Workers During the “Recovery”

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The following article from the New York Times is shameful in many ways. While the paper is forced to cover the undeniable fact that real wages for the lowest income Americans have plunged during the so-called “economic recovery” over the past six years, it fails to actually pin blame on the undemocratic, oligarch institution most responsible for this humanitarian crisis: The Federal Reserve.

Of course, I and many others have been saying this for years, but now more than half a decade into what is supposed to be a recovery, people are finally being forced to admit what this really is —  large scale theft.

In fact, Ben Bernanke and his crew of upward wealth distributing academics have pulled off the greatest wealth heist in American history. In its wake we have been left with a hollowed out, asset striped Banana Republic. Thanks for playin’ Main Street. Or more accurately, thanks for being played.

From the New York Times:

Despite steady gains in hiring, a falling unemployment rate and other signs of an improving economy, take-home pay for many American workers has effectively fallen since the economic recovery began in 2009, according to a new study by an advocacy group that is to be released on Thursday.

Right, so despite government data saying everything is awesome, everything actually isn’t awesome. See how this game works?

The declines were greatest for the lowest-paid workers in sectors where hiring has been strong — home health care, food preparation and retailing — even though wages were already below average to begin with in those service industries.

“Stagnant wages are a problem for everyone at this point, but the imbalance in the economy has become more pronounced since the recession,” said Irene Tung, a senior policy researcher at the National Employment Law Project and co-author of the study.

So “the imbalance in the economy has become more pronounced since the recession,” and still the New York Times can’t find a link between this reality and the central bank planners who have created an environment for the economy to be strip-mined in a manner that would make a Russian oligarch blush?

“I’ve asked for raises several times and each time I get the runaround,” said Ms. Almodovar, who is licensed by Ohio as a nurse’s assistant. Bills for natural gas, electricity, food and other necessities have gone up since her last raise, she noted, leaving little extra money for her and her 12-year-old son.

One explanation may lie in the findings of another study released on Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute, also a liberal research group. Its report showed that even as labor productivity has improved steadily since 2000, the benefits from improved efficiency have nearly all gone to companies, shareholders and top executives, rather than rank-and-file employees.

Yes, indeed. So who did the Federal Reserve really bail out? The answer is obvious.

The fall in the unemployment rate from a postrecession high of 10 percent is certainly good news, Ms. Tung said, but NELP’s analysis showed that once inflation was taken into account, median wages across all occupations fell by 4 percent between 2009 and 2014.

Yes, it’s “certainly good news” that people have jobs which can’t make ends meet. Only a disconnected journalist could compose, and have the audacity to publish, such an insulting and thoughtless statement.

Wage declines in the lowest-paid occupations were much worse, dropping 8.9 percent for restaurant cooks and 6.2 percent for home health aides.

These are more akin to depression-like statistics, if anything.

An earlier NELP study was criticized by economists for exaggerating the extent of the so-called low-wage recovery. Ms. Tung said the analysis in the report to be released on Thursday was different from the earlier report, focusing on actual wage trends within occupations, not the proportion of jobs created in different fields.

NELP’s findings come at a time when income inequality and the failure of many workers to gain ground during the recovery are coming to the political fore. Candidates from both parties have sought to address the worries of middle-income Americans, while trying not to be too closely identified with Wall Street and other symbols of corporate America.

Some of it is linked to what he calls the “glacial changes” wrought by macroeconomic forces like automation, demographics and globalization.

Other factors are specific to the American economy, including the real estate boom and bust, consumer debt levels and continuing slack in the labor market because of relatively low demand compared with the still-large numbers of people who are looking for work or would return to the labor force if they had a better chance of finding a worthwhile job.

I still don’t understand why people treat income inequality as some gigantic mystery. The root cause is obvious, and has been for years. Ben Bernanke and his crew created trillions and bailed out the wealthiest people in the world, while leaving everyone else hanging out to dry.

What’s so troubling is both NELP and the New York Times list pretty much every potential cause for income inequality except the most powerful and undemocratic “macro economic” force of all: Central Banking.

It would be truly comical if it weren’t so tragic. At the end of the day, it’s not that complicated at all. The answer is right in front of you:

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Many other workers in some low-paid sectors are worse off than they were a couple of decades ago.

While attending high school in the mid-1990s, Derrell Odom worked at KFC, earning $5.50 an hour. That’s the equivalent of $8.61 today.

After two years of college, two military tours in Iraq and other jobs, he is back working as a cook at an Atlanta location of the fried chicken chain. Two decades after his first stint at KFC, his hourly pay now is only $7.25 an hour.

That is barely enough to support himself, let alone his fiancée and two sons. “I have leadership skills and led missions in Iraq,” Mr. Odom said. “Right now, I’m trying to survive.”

Thank you for your service, soldier. Now get back to work. We’ve got some Wall Street bankers to bail out.

There you have it folks. An economy in which pundits and status quo elites continue to ceaselessly pat themselves on the back in their own echo chamber for an economic recovery from which only they benefit.

For more articles on the Oligarch Recovery, see:

The Oligarch Recovery – Low Income Americans Can’t Afford to Live in Any Metro Area

The Oligarch Recovery – Renting in America is Most Expensive Ever

Another Tale from the Oligarch Recovery – How a $1,500 Sofa Costs $4,150 When You’re Poor

Just Another Tale from the Oligarch Recovery – $100 Million Homes Being Built on Spec

The Face of the Oligarch Recovery – Luxury Skyscrapers Stay Empty as NYC Homeless Population Hits Record High

Use of Alternative Financial Services, Such as Payday Loans, Continues to Increase Despite the “Recovery”

Portrait of the American Oligarchy – The Very Troubling Income and Wealth Trends Since 1989

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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2 Comments

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  1. [email protected]

    its amazing that we still need studies to confirm to us the obvious. we all know what’s happening in reality .and we all know the big lie is happening to cover it up.

    but that’s history . a series of big lies while underlying realities move forwards.

    so what can be done other than endless complaining about the neo-refeudalization of the class system?

  2. This is an international crises and the oligarch’s underestimate what systemic failure can do. Pumping the markets will not solve war and hunger. The US and EU poverty class is being forced into mob behavior because incomes are losing ground to higher prices and hoards of migrating poor foreigners. Soon it will be rioting, looting, and every man for himself. The markets will crash and marshal law will begin. Things could have been different if Occupy Wall Street could have awakened the oligarchs to these eventual results. Corpocracy is the fundamental pollution in human culture. Short term profits can never be the primary guiding light for human progress.

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