12/26/2006

AVERAGE JOES


There they go again. As part of its continuing effort to make it seem as if American workers are actually prospering in an era in which median income is still below what it was in 2000, the Wall Street Journal editorial page trots out some misleading averages. If Goldman, Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein gets a $54 million bonus, and 53,999,999 other workers get nothing, then on average, 54 million people have received a $1 bonus. In reality, however, only one person has more money in his pocket. Crudely speaking, that's what has been happening in the U.S. economy. The Journal's editorial page would like us to think otherwise. Some key snippets:

Over the past year, the real average wage for non-supervisory employees has risen 2.8%. That equates to about a $1,200 increase in purchasing power for the typical household this year. Last year, real median household income was also up 1.1% after inflation. This rise in take-home pay helps to explain how Americans have had the disposable income this Christmas shopping season to pay $600 for Play Station 3 computer games and $150 for the Kid-Tough Digital Camera for three-year-olds.
Got that? Average real wages rose 2.8 percent over the past year, while real median household income, which more accurately captures the experience of typical Americans, rose 1.1 percent.

Later, the editorial argues that the best way to boost the stagnant income of workers is to. . . . .cut taxes.

We certainly agree with those who'd like to do more to lift worker paychecks, so here are two ideas. First, make the Bush tax cuts permanent. If Congress lets them expire in 2010, as many Democrats are urging, the average family will suffer the equivalent of a $2,000 a year pay cut.
Again, not the use of the average. It may be true that letting the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, as they were designed to do, might result in families, on average, paying $2,000 a year more in taxes. But for the median family, the sum would surely be less. Again, if Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman, Sachs pays an extra $1.62 million in taxes as a result of top marginal rates rising, and 1,619,999 other workers continue to pay taxes at the same rate, then on average, their taxes have risen by $1. But only one person is paying more taxes. Sigh.

Source: Daniel Gross.

11 comments:

Cato said...

Get a different job if you don't like what you've got. Pretty simple. Less than 5% unemployment is what economists like to call "full employment" as it is a workers market where you can pick and choose. So go for it.

As for that averages stuff, they really mean "the average family" not what you were suggesting. Taxes are too high on everyone aside from the poor who don't pay their fair share. Flat tax, no loopholes no nothing. Just make it equal. I'm all about equality it's about time the government started treating people with the equal respect they deserve instead of this tax the rich, feed the poor until there are no rich no more mentality that the disgusting mob has created. Democracy midwifed the Third Reich and it is ruining our country today as well.

AndyRand said...

Indeed CATO:
Let Plutocracy Reign.

Dieter said...

CATO, Your argument is becoming tiresome, It's time to Danz!

666 said...

Cato:

Are you actually suggesting that, if people are not satisfied with their current employment, people go find a different job? If they are not qualified for a job that pays more, people should seek additional training that will qualify them for a job that pays more? If there are jobs that they are qualified for but are in a different location, they should packup and move to those jobs? What kind of craziness is that?

I sure hope my ancestors who left Ireland, Sweden and Germany to get a better life in America and a chance for more enriching opportunities don't hear this kind of talk. This almost smacks as sounding like you think people should get off their ass and do something about it. Wake up man, this is the year 2006! People don't have time to do that kind of shit. They are busy trying to explain to their kids why their neighbors have a 50-inch plasma TV and they only have a 40-inch plasma. Some kids will be force to return to school after vacation and suffered the scorn and riddicle of not getting a PlayStation 3 for Christmas. It's thinking like this that is going to be the ruin of this country.

lil' johnny said...

Dear Mom and Dad,

Forget the Playstation 3...
I want a Nintendo Wii

Anonymous said...

I have been checking out this blog for some time, but have not made any comments. One thing I find interesting is that nobody actually complains about what they get paid or their benefits. It seems like a theorethical discussion that borders on the line of a pitty party for people who are employed in low wage jobs. Noboby on this blog seems to fall into that category.

What's your point? These low wage earners have not taken advantage of the government-funded education provided in their k-12 years. They got into drugs and fucked up their lives. They got pregnant at 15 with not father to take responsibility for the choice they taking responsibily for your actions (or inactions. Once you take responsibility, you either accept the choice you've made or you get your fucking ass in gear and do something about it.

Maybe you theorethical do-gooders should go talk to these people working at Wal-Mart and volunteer your time as babysitters while they are getting their GEDs or job training. While you're at it, maybe you can pay their tuition for tech school or college. I've already paid taxes for their k-12 edcuation and food stamps for their kids.

What part of RESPONSIBILITY don't you socialists understand?

Me Anonymous too said...

Well Gee Golly Wiz, you paid your taxes.
Like you're the only one!
Responsibility is one thing, and some examples you list above are no doubt caused by personal irresponsililty. But systematic
exploitation of workers who do their jobs well and are rewarded by being cut back to part time to avoid paying benefits when they begin to raise families is another. Yes, I've talked to Wal-Mart workers and this is their situation.
You might want to add that you've paid into the Badgercare Health assistance program to cover Wal-Mart's ass for being to Fucking cheap to give their workers Health Insurance.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I go to Wal-mart all the time. The doors swing both ways. If the workers don't like the setup, go someplace else. I seems so simple to me.

When you talked to the Wal-mart workers and they told you of their situation, did they tell you want they were doing to change the situation. Or did you tell them not to worry because you are spending long hours on a blog trying to improve their situation.

If you're ever in Hudson, go over to Target and find out how much healthcare Target is providing their employees. While you're in the neighborhood, stop by Caribou Coffee and any of the other shops along the way and see how much healthcare coverage they are getting paid.

One man's "fucking cheap" is another man's "business practice." If it ain't working out the way you planned or (more likely) didn't plan, it's never to late to put down your whining towel and start walking and working for a better tomorrow. Write your own success story. Don't expect someone else to do it.

Anonymous said...

Anon: give me that story when you need health insurance. If you even had a clue about the number of people that can't afford health insurance, and who some of them are, you might not be so close minded. I pay for my insurance, because I'm economically able to. The point is that the health insurance industry has established a monopoly through collusion, with the support of the past controlling party. Profits and premium increases for health insurance companies are at an all time high.

Anonymous said...

Anon: give me that story when you need health insurance. If you even had a clue about the number of people that can't afford health insurance, and who some of them are, you might not be so close minded. I pay for my insurance, because I'm economically able to. The point is that the health insurance industry has established a monopoly through collusion, with the support of the past controlling party. Profits and premium increases for health insurance companies are at an all time high.

Cato said...

Health insurance is outrageously cheap. I am amazed at the amount I get covered for the tiny bit I put in. Granted, my employer does put in a large amount but that was one of the reasons I work where I do. It's an incentive my employer offered.

The insurance industry has a "monopoly"? I'm sorry, I thought you bought into any number of a range of insurance companies to help defrat your costs but you still could buy health care without insurance. I'm pretty sure you can... yes... yes you can. "Monopoly" is the last word I would expect to have anything to do with health care.