Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spirit-Crushing 'McJobs' Are Putting an End to Upward Mobility


Under this definition, a low-wage job is one that pays substantially less than the job held by a typical male worker -- that's any job paying less than $11.11. How many are like that? Forty-four million.

That's worse than most people realize. Especially since most low-wage jobs don't offer benefits like paid sick days, health insurance or retirement accounts, tend to have inflexible or unpredictable scheduling requirements, and provide little opportunity for career advancement.

And these jobs have been getting worse relative to others. Over the last quarter-century, the typical low-wage worker has seen an increase of a mere 6 cents an hour -- to just $8.53 an hour. Meanwhile, higher wage workers got a raise of 22 percent.

While low-wage workers haven't seen much of a raise since 1979, the economy and productivity have grown substantially. For several decades before 1980, productivity growth and wages rose together -- in other words, workers shared in the gains. But over recent decades, workers continued to be increasingly productive, yet they haven't seen any payoff in wages.

Click here for the rest.

This is the main reason why the old GOP pro-business all-the-time philosophy no longer holds any water for the majority of Americans--it's not just about low-wage workers, either. For decades, Republicans have justified these views by asserting that favoring business is virtually the same thing as favoring average people: "a rising tide raises all the boats" or "what's good for Wall Street is good for Main Street" and other bland platitudes along those lines. Decades ago, this was probably true to some extent, especially after WWII. Since then, however, businesses, especially large corporations, have become very adept at keeping profits to themselves--billions of dollars spent on lobbying and campaign contributions have served to warp the legal and political establishment in this direction, as well.

Since the Reagan era, we've been on a downward slide toward third world status, and I don't see that trend reversing anytime soon.