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Why Wages Are Going Nowhere

Why Wages Are Going Nowhere

Robert Reich
The official rate of unemployment in America has plunged to a remarkably low 3.8%. The Federal Reserve forecasts that the unemployment rate will reach 3.5% by the end of the year.

But wages have been going nowhere for a long time-----so it is amusing that to me so many politicians are asking me for money! : 0 The fact that 3.8% is the official rate of employment------I’m nit sure what that means as I have nothing to compare it to.
How many people are no longer looking for work? What is the population percentage of that group? How many college grads can’t find any livable wage work------I am also wondering about —legally ------how many people in D.C. can fit into one apartment? How many in San Francisco, or New York? Or----- will more people live in their cars in a Disneyland parking lot? Where is the drain that the people are being sucked down into? Americans need a big pay raise to plug that drain!

Nope. Who is “on unemployment” has nothing to do with how the rate is calculated. You’re either ignorant or a liar.

This is an enlightening piece of work, and I appreciate it.

However, if wars for money break our hearts because there’s no glory, only money someone else has dibs on, what does it do to us to work three or four jobs to feed our kids and send them to school?

I remember, growing up, when women had the option to stay home because the man could have one job that funded that option, and he had time to grow a trophy lawn, on top of that. Even as a young boy, I didn’t see that growing anyone’s soul, nor did I see church focusing on developing souls. The idea was for a man to keep his woman home, even if she felt oppressed by having to stay home. We’re not talking about liberation, are we?

What if developing our soul is the reason humans exist? We had a lot of time to devote to soul development when we were hunter/gatherers walking the land. It took us two or three hours to get that day’s food, then we could attend to our souls, and we did. What if our feelings of being at home on this planet come from having that kind of free time, and our brains are built to live that way?

Karl Polanyi showed that capitalism forced serfs off the commons where they lived in the same house for a thousand years or more because they (capitalists) needed Labor to work in their plants, and the alternative was the poor house, worse than being dead. It was legal for them to do it that way because, like now, you got the legislation you bought, if you were a capitalist.

It’s been up and down ever since, and this is down, from 1970, when wages stagnated as the Nixon administration took the country off the gold standard to run Milton Friedman’s version of capitalism, tried first in the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. It put about half the middle class living on the dump to stay alive. Tent City looks good from there, huh?

Why do we stifle our souls to make oligarchs richer? Because we’re landless, so we have no other viable choice? Because we no longer know how to live with the land, back when everyone could hear trees talk?

So we chase an illusion called money and stifle our soul for it?

What if we formed unions to get us back on the land, so we could grow food and say “no” to the man of money? You can’t eat money when there’s no food for sale.

Must we remain captives of the money economy? Can we leave that paradigm, here in the land of the free? Is an illusion a good trade for stifling our soul? Who wins that trade?

I worked in geriatric psych wards in one of my past lives and I didn’t meet a man who didn’t wish he knew his wife and kids instead of becoming a millionaire. They told me their lives were a failure. They failed to grow their souls in order to grow their bank accounts, instead, and it wasn’t worth it. The end of their lives was a lonely place. How do we die good deaths? Nose to the grindstone doesn’t do it.

The purpose of capitalism is to break hearts, it seems to me. Why do we stick around to get our hearts broken again by being treated the same as a shovel? How do we do something different? How do we liberate life from capitalism?


I really appreciate that you are discussing our purpose for being alive. It amazes me that all these so-called fervent christians seem to think that their god created this universe merely for us to build an extremely inequitable economic system. Seriously, their god made the creation just to be a resource for a human economic system? I don’t think so and their bible says nothing of the sort either! So where do they get that idea? I’d tell them that it must be the work of their devil.

I contend that the human spirit is NOT nourished by toiling at a job whether as CEO or Dishwasher.

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We have become a nation of wage and interest/debt slaves!

The disparities in income between workers and the bosses is an obscenity. The disparities in wealth-distribution is an obscenity, but vast wealth has corrupted our electoral processes and parties, made corporations “persons”, and influenced what is arguably the most egregious SCROTUS decision ever, the declaration that "money equals free speech that has subverted our electoral system even further.

The thing is we are a republic - founded as a republic, not a “democracy” per se! The fraud of “democracy” is that the mob can be, and IS, manipulated by wealth and power to empower the agenda of, by and for wealth and power over the people. To pass laws by corrupt complicit agents that empower the forces and agenda of wealth and “elect” those that piss on our republic’s “charter”, our Constitution and Bill of Rights that our republic was founded-on.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” - The Common Good is the basis for these words, as John Adams wrote:
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”.

Those powerful words empowered the people in ways that have been steadily destroyed by the subversion of “democratic” manipulations. we see that every day, but do not recognize it for what it is!

We are a republic (“the republic” for “Richard Stands”) that has as its foundation words enshrining and (supposedly) protecting the common good rather than a “democracy” manipulated by wealth and voted-in by the lumpen mob, dedicated to common greed…the current subversion of our republic has been accomplished via the manipulation of democracy dominated by the 1%, voted-in by the mob, kept ignorant via the subversion and purchase of the Fourth Estate - so critical to either republic or “democracy”!.

The ability of “the mob” in a "democracy’ to vote in or out anything regardless of its morality, wisdom, common decency, religious dogma, or domination by big money interests and power to subvert a “democracy” via great accumulated wealth and complicit subverted media is, or can be, a new form of tyranny…it all depends who buys their way into power, and how ignorant the mob is…crap education, “religious” brainwashing, the Fourth Estate’s bought-up and its critical role in any system subverted to - again - big-money and the powerful, rather than to fully and truthfully inform the public…one way produces the mob and one the common good public.

We - those dominating our national agenda - have exported “democracy” to enslave people in target nations to legally steal their natural resources via quisling leaders - installed via “democracy” and kept, or installed, in power via military force by the US of Wealth…

I’m well aware of how it’s calculated. The statement was patently false as is much of what is posted here.

Just face it. Businessmen are just about fed up altogether with the very idea of paying people for work. The capitalist “ideal” is a slave state, and business is working overtime to get us there.

Would anyone want to suggest this isn’t collusion/conspiracy among
corporations and smaller businesses?

It is just coincidental that pretty much all of them gave small increases
to workers at the same time – just before the big bang hit of tax increases
of the wealthy?

And, ultimately, now inflation has pretty much eaten into those small increases.

3.8% is only based on those who are still collecting unemployment insurance –
and that ends after two years of unemployment.

Usually, after one of these reports, Bernie Sanders will come out with more realistic
advice on what these figures actually mean - - usually you can multiply the U/E levels
by 3 or 4 X.