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(Some professor)   A half century ago America's full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today's dollars, including health and pension benefits. Today, America's largest employer is Walmart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour   (robertreich.org) divider line 134
    More: Fail, Wal-Mart, salary, big-box retailers, unfair labor practice, workers earned, Sam Walton, technological change, pensions  
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3015 clicks; posted to Business » on 22 Nov 2012 at 10:00 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-23 01:18:38 AM  

EnviroDude: What do you expect when the currency is devalued by overprinting? 50 years ago? I would settle for 5 years ago.


This

Many of you have no clue that it is the federal reserve that is destroying wealth in this country......thank the public education system for this
 
2012-11-23 02:39:28 AM  

giftedmadness: EnviroDude: What do you expect when the currency is devalued by overprinting? 50 years ago? I would settle for 5 years ago.

This

Many of you have no clue that it is the federal reserve that is destroying wealth in this country......thank the public education system for this


And this is why you shouldn't get your information from Ron Paul "gold standard" web sites. They omit a good bit of information regarding fiscal theory and practice here in the US, and you seem very silly when you act as if you know something that others don't.

Long story short, foreign holding in American currency from international trade, as well as rich people and corporations sitting on their cash reserves, cause a lack of real dollars here in the United States for paying employees and buying and selling goods and services. Instead of making this up by printing enough money to cover the difference, or at least buying dollars back from whatever country now holds them, "fake" currency is allowed to be issued by the banks. The banks generally only hold about 20% of their outstanding loans, meaning they just literally "make up" the money that goes into your checking account when you take out a loan, or the "credit line" you are given when you get a new credit card. Only about 20% or so of your credit line or your loan actually exists as real money. THIS is what's actually killing our currency, and not the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is forced to work around such nonsense because the rules about how much money banks have to have in "real" money are made by Congress. (And with Barney Frank, the sole voice of reason left on the House Finance Committee, retiring after this year, there is no telling what might happen. Thankfully, we now have a few more intelligent people like Elizabeth Warren that might help keep the pro-business congress critters in check, although she's a Senator-to-be, not a Congresswoman).

This is inflated further when banks loan one another "money", as the same rules apply - Bank A might have an extra $20,000 over the daily FDIC close limit, while bank B is short $100,000. Bank A loans Bank B $100,000, $80,000 of which does not actually exist, in order for Bank B to close its books for the day. Bank B then "repays" Bank A the daily interest on $100,000 the following morning, and it's all good.

You should be down on your knees thanking the people at the Federal Reserve for working around this kind of crap and keeping the economy moving as much as it is.

If you ever wonder about the inflation of the late 80's through the early 00's, try correlating it with the large number of credit cards which were issued with no real money backing them during the same period. THIS is the cause of the economic woes you have blamed on the Federal Reserve (it also had a lot to do with the Clinton Boom and the money that people had to invest in the dotcoms, but that's another story).
 
2012-11-23 03:03:56 AM  
The problem with America is that most people are still living in the past and not adjusting to the new world reality. Republicans want to live in the Norman Rockwell past. Democrats want to live in the post-war, heavily unionized past when there was no competition from cheap and HIGHLY MOTIVATED foreign labor. It's over folks. Sign up for Alibaba.com and see how fast some Chinese or Pakistani is emailing you to see what he can make for you. That's what's missing amongst America's lower classes. Everyone derides the notion of "job creators" as a falacy, and yet they sit around and wait for job creators to create a good paying job for them. Cheap foreign labor notwithstanding, it has never been easier to set up any kind of business, and manufacture and sell goods anywhere on the planet.

Yes, I know. I'm being all bootstrappy. But the lower classes in China, Pakistan, Brazil and a hundred other countries are being more bootstrappy than Americans and they are kicking the American workers' ass. Until things change, people will be stuck in Wallyworld, service economy jobs.
 
2012-11-23 05:43:18 AM  

Ebbelwoi: The problem with America is that most people are still living in the past and not adjusting to the new world reality. Republicans want to live in the Norman Rockwell past. Democrats want to live in the post-war, heavily unionized past when there was no competition from cheap and HIGHLY MOTIVATED foreign labor. It's over folks. Sign up for Alibaba.com and see how fast some Chinese or Pakistani is emailing you to see what he can make for you. That's what's missing amongst America's lower classes. Everyone derides the notion of "job creators" as a falacy, and yet they sit around and wait for job creators to create a good paying job for them. Cheap foreign labor notwithstanding, it has never been easier to set up any kind of business, and manufacture and sell goods anywhere on the planet.

Yes, I know. I'm being all bootstrappy. But the lower classes in China, Pakistan, Brazil and a hundred other countries are being more bootstrappy than Americans and they are kicking the American workers' ass. Until things change, people will be stuck in Wallyworld, service economy jobs.


China? Income disparity in China is worse than it is here! Chinese peasants have to deal daily with the horrors of living in a country where "growth at all costs" is the mantra and government works of business. If these places are so great then why do they want come to America?
 
2012-11-23 05:44:14 AM  

MasterAdkins: Therion: Remember 2008 and all of the calls for guillotines in the street, conpared to now when we're holding our breath and hoping that taxes on income over $250,000 can go up just a tiny little bit, please?.

As one of those households with incomes over $250,000 I don't necessarily mind contributing a little more than people who earn less than I do. I would just like a little something extra for my extra contribution. Not anything that cost money really, mostly just time, how about we all carry around our tax returns and when you come to a line the person who pays the most taxes gets to go to the front of the line? Or how about the more you pay in taxes the faster you can drive and people have to get out of the lane I want to drive in an let me go by?

And yes, I really am serious. If I have to pay more to make up for those who earn less than I should get perks for it, seems fair to me. And yes, I get nicer things for the larger income I receive but I worked for that larger income, through putting in more time, more education and more devotion to my career.


Really?
 
2012-11-23 06:11:36 AM  

HotIgneous Intruder: The greedy assed corporations will kill their own golden goose.
For the past 30 years, wages have been declining as the money flows up into private wealth hoarding accounts. Declining wages undercut demand, which undercuts profits, which the ownership uses to require cost savings in the form of layoffs, which undercuts demand and so on and so on and so on, until the whole thing goes under.

Welcome to the vicious circle.


They just have to get into industries with captive consumers; privatized utilities, privatized prisons, and post-2014 health insurance.
 
2012-11-23 07:45:07 AM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: IlGreven: Ed Finnerty: So stop shopping at Walmart. It's not rocket surgery.

Show me one time in the history of mankind where "ignore it and it goes away" actually worked.

The last Ice Age?


An eclipse?
 
2012-11-23 08:00:38 AM  

WhyteRaven74: Tommy Moo: Too many workers.

No such thing. Oh sure you can argue too much supply leads to depressed wages, but if there's tons of workers around and no one is coming up with new ways to employ them, after all there's not a lot of market pressure prohibiting it, then you have a market failure.


The other day I was in a bar and a man in the bathroom offered to squirt soap into my hand and hand me a paper towel. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of coming up with new ways to employe people. When the manufacturing and mining sectors are saturated, new jobs tend to be created in the service sector, which generates no actual wealth, and can only be supported on the wealth generated by the creation of things of value. This is fine to a certain extent. A man who makes millions of gold widgets might rather use some of that wealth to have a person mow his lawn or walk his dog, but it's getting a bit ridiculous when we have to share our wealth with people who squirt soap into our hands. It's basically just disguised welfare at that point.
 
2012-11-23 08:09:31 AM  
Clinton sold us out to China. He needed that sweet campaign money and Hilary needed her Walmart stock to go up.
 
2012-11-23 08:11:57 AM  

nmemkha: China? Income disparity in China is worse than it is here! Chinese peasants have to deal daily with the horrors of living in a country where "growth at all costs" is the mantra and government works of business. If these places are so great then why do they want come to America?


I'm not sure what your point is. The fact that conditions in the emerging economies are hardscrabble, means those people are more motivated than Americans who have become complacent after decades as the top dog. The tide has turned. There are, however, ways to adapt other than being a low-skilled and low paid cashier at wallyworks.
 
2012-11-23 08:45:50 AM  
www.feministfightback.org.uk


capitalism is a game where the winners take all
 
2012-11-23 08:50:56 AM  

EnviroDude: What do you expect when the currency is devalued by overprinting? 50 years ago? I would settle for 5 years ago.


You didn't have a fark account 5 years ago. In at least one respect, the world was a better place.
 
2012-11-23 10:26:21 AM  
I know in the company I work in the CEO makes 1,000,000 per year. Average wage for worker in the company is about 40,000. This is more typical of the majority of American corporations but it creates outrage to make up stats like all CEOs make 3000 more times average worker. There are 6000 workers in the company where I work.
 
2012-11-23 12:21:14 PM  
Half a century ago I couldn't buy a 50 inch tv for $500.
 
2012-11-23 12:34:49 PM  

kukukupo: Half a century ago I couldn't buy a 50 inch tv for $500.


Too bad you can't eat 50 inch tvs
 
2012-11-23 12:47:21 PM  

kukukupo: Half a century ago I couldn't buy a 50 inch tv for $500.


Before I agree, are we measuring diagonally, or front-to-back?
 
2012-11-23 12:52:02 PM  
And tax rates were much higher. And those jobs went to china because the high pay was uncompetitive. And the dollar was stronger because real debt to GDP was lower so things didn't cost as much which helped sustained hose wages. Not the case today. But you all o on believing that a stock boy should get 50/hr. morons.
 
2012-11-23 01:38:06 PM  
It would be better to compare apples to apples here. What was the average retail employee making 50 years ago? I'll bet it's not $50/hour.
 
2012-11-23 02:02:19 PM  

tjfly: And tax rates were much higher. And those jobs went to china because the high pay was uncompetitive. And the dollar was stronger because real debt to GDP was lower so things didn't cost as much which helped sustained hose wages. Not the case today. But you all o on believing that a stock boy should get 50/hr. morons.


Yes, you're absolutely corr....

Oh , fark it: Look, maroon, you're echoing a party line that utterly fails to account for the simple fact that Europe has thriving manufacturing and heavy industrial sectors. Strong unions. Strong social safety net. Universal health care. High wages. Robust infrastructure. Mom-and-pop stores everywhere. All of these are things that the argument you're aping claims to be unpossible in a global economy.
 
2012-11-23 02:11:33 PM  

Asako: It would be better to compare apples to apples here. What was the average retail employee making 50 years ago? I'll bet it's not $50/hour.


It is apples to apples, because you're comparing the largest American employer for both time periods.

Do you really believe that the 1956 GM worker worked "harder" than the average Wal-Mart employee? Or that he (no such thing as "or she" back then) was somehow more skilled or knowledgeable or doing a job that another person could not be trained to do in a matter of a week or so?

This isn't about "what job" as an apples-to-oranges comparison; the apples are apples when you consider the knowledge, skill, and physical ability necessary to do either job. Picking vegetables isn't the same as loading a truck, but they both require about equal physical effort, and very little brainpower. Neither requires specialized skills, and only a modicum of training. Working as a stockboy at Wal-Mart does require training in the use of the computer scanners, as well as some knowledge of chemical hazards and the ability to lift heavy items repetitively. What is the difference in between that job and working on an assembly line at a car manufacturer? Yet you seem to believe that they deserve different pay.

Explain your answer.
 
2012-11-23 02:28:53 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: Yes, you're absolutely corr....

Oh , fark it: Look, maroon, you're echoing a party line that utterly fails to account for the simple fact that Europe has thriving manufacturing and heavy industrial sectors. Strong unions. Strong social safety net. Universal health care. High wages. Robust infrastructure. Mom-and-pop stores everywhere. All of these are things that the argument you're aping claims to be unpossible in a global economy.


He's also failing to take into account the protective tariffs in the E.U. that make imports not exactly cost-effective, as well as the high taxes on the rich (especially capital gains) that pay for those things that they refer to as "necessities of life" and American Conservatives refer to as "entitlements".

Yet their economy thrives (with certain exceptions in Greece and Italy, but that has to do with their government - Germany has one of the strongest economies in the world). Funny thing, that. Conservatives will tell you that is impossible. Of course, they also tell you that the Earth is 6,000 years old, Jesus rode a dinosaur, and Global Warming is a hoax. It's like they believe so much in their ideology they refuse to look at the evidence of their own eyes in every single facet of the way they wish to govern.
 
2012-11-23 02:55:37 PM  

Weaver95: Marcus Aurelius: Weaver95: I just love how unified the message is from the corporate press - it's ALWAYS the unions fault when things go wrong. And that's even assuming you can get a story about unions on air in the first place. just look at this recent 'black friday' strike that's being organized against wal-mart. it's fairly easy to learn about via online discussions....but CNN? Fox News? if they mention it at all, it's to either laugh at it or shade the story to make the union organizers as shady people out to steal from 'honest hard working people'...

Yeah, and Hostess went under because the labor unions looted the place and left it with a billion dollars in debt, and the poor poor hedge funds had to clean up the mess out of the goodness of their own hearts.

Sickening.

if you ONLY followed the corporate news, then yes - that's what you'd end up believing. there has been VERY little analysis about how Hostess ended up in such deep fiscal trouble. when I point out the facts to my conservative friends I'm met first with flat out disbelief and denial, followed by accusations that i'm lying or distorting facts. when I prove my statements true with valid third party neutral sources, from that point the reactions diverge into 'oh yeah well you just don't understand finance' to 'I don't wanna talk about this stuff, lets go shoot zombies or something'.

I honestly don't know what to say at that point. Hostess was run into the ground by an elite group of investors who made bad decisions and looted the company then shifted the blame to the unions. were the unions completely blameless? well, i'm sure you could find SOMETHING they did wrong....but even if you wanted to go that route you STILL have to look at the CEOs and board of directors who kept giving themselves pay raises while forcing workers to take pay cuts and question their motives. Most of my conservative friends WILL NOT blame a CEO under any circumstances. I find that reluctance to be quite strange.


Well, I am sure the people running the company had a big hand. However, when you refuse to produce there is no getting around that.
 
2012-11-23 04:32:31 PM  

ox45tallboy: Yet their economy thrives (with certain exceptions in Greece and Italy,


And Spain. And Ireland. The only country holding up Europe is Germany.
 
2012-11-23 06:10:17 PM  

ox45tallboy: Asako: It would be better to compare apples to apples here. What was the average retail employee making 50 years ago? I'll bet it's not $50/hour.

It is apples to apples, because you're comparing the largest American employer for both time periods.

Do you really believe that the 1956 GM worker worked "harder" than the average Wal-Mart employee? Or that he (no such thing as "or she" back then) was somehow more skilled or knowledgeable or doing a job that another person could not be trained to do in a matter of a week or so?

This isn't about "what job" as an apples-to-oranges comparison; the apples are apples when you consider the knowledge, skill, and physical ability necessary to do either job. Picking vegetables isn't the same as loading a truck, but they both require about equal physical effort, and very little brainpower. Neither requires specialized skills, and only a modicum of training. Working as a stockboy at Wal-Mart does require training in the use of the computer scanners, as well as some knowledge of chemical hazards and the ability to lift heavy items repetitively. What is the difference in between that job and working on an assembly line at a car manufacturer? Yet you seem to believe that they deserve different pay.

Explain your answer.


You explained it. The day women gained equal rights (which I am for) is the day your labor became 1/2 as valuable.
 
2012-11-23 10:39:04 PM  

lelio: And Spain. And Ireland. The only country holding up Europe is Germany.


Sweden, Finland, hell, all of Scandinavia is doing pretty well, the Socialist bastards.
 
2012-11-23 10:40:34 PM  

Nemo's Brother: You explained it. The day women gained equal rights (which I am for) is the day your labor became 1/2 as valuable.


www.collectorsquest.com


Let me know when that happens.
 
2012-11-24 01:15:11 AM  

MasterAdkins: As one of those households with incomes over $250,000 I don't necessarily mind contributing a little more than people who earn less than I do. I would just like a little something extra for my extra contribution.


The extra financial security you get is your "little something extra," you dickwad.
 
2012-11-24 08:57:01 AM  
your blog sucks
 
2012-11-24 09:34:36 AM  

Weaver95: Marcus Aurelius: Weaver95: I just love how unified the message is from the corporate press - it's ALWAYS the unions fault when things go wrong. And that's even assuming you can get a story about unions on air in the first place. just look at this recent 'black friday' strike that's being organized against wal-mart. it's fairly easy to learn about via online discussions....but CNN? Fox News? if they mention it at all, it's to either laugh at it or shade the story to make the union organizers as shady people out to steal from 'honest hard working people'...

Yeah, and Hostess went under because the labor unions looted the place and left it with a billion dollars in debt, and the poor poor hedge funds had to clean up the mess out of the goodness of their own hearts.

Sickening.

if you ONLY followed the corporate news, then yes - that's what you'd end up believing. there has been VERY little analysis about how Hostess ended up in such deep fiscal trouble. when I point out the facts to my conservative friends I'm met first with flat out disbelief and denial, followed by accusations that i'm lying or distorting facts. when I prove my statements true with valid third party neutral sources, from that point the reactions diverge into 'oh yeah well you just don't understand finance' to 'I don't wanna talk about this stuff, lets go shoot zombies or something'.

I honestly don't know what to say at that point. Hostess was run into the ground by an elite group of investors who made bad decisions and looted the company then shifted the blame to the unions. were the unions completely blameless? well, i'm sure you could find SOMETHING they did wrong....but even if you wanted to go that route you STILL have to look at the CEOs and board of directors who kept giving themselves pay raises while forcing workers to take pay cuts and question their motives. Most of my conservative friends WILL NOT blame a CEO under any circumstances. I find that reluctance to be quite strange.


Everything you said is amazingly wrong. There has been tons of analysis. The number one cost driver was shipping. 70-80 million a year more than if shipping was optimized. Union contract did not allow this. Wonder bread could not be shipped with Twinkies. Separate trucks. Line example.

How do you continue to be wrong about absolutely everything?
 
2012-11-24 01:08:00 PM  

ox45tallboy: lelio: And Spain. And Ireland. The only country holding up Europe is Germany.

Sweden, Finland, hell, all of Scandinavia is doing pretty well, the Socialist bastards.


How many illegals do they have?
 
2012-11-25 02:53:37 AM  

Nemo's Brother: How many illegals do they have?


HAHAHAHAHA

/slaps knee

I bet you are great fun at parties.
 
2012-11-25 03:05:24 AM  

MyRandomName: Everything you said is amazingly wrong. There has been tons of analysis. The number one cost driver was shipping. 70-80 million a year more than if shipping was optimized. Union contract did not allow this. Wonder bread could not be shipped with Twinkies. Separate trucks. Line example.

How do you continue to be wrong about absolutely everything?


I don't ordinarily agree with Weaver95 about much, but I'm with him here.

I think the first thing you need to address is, why in the world would the union demand that separate products be shipped by different employees? That seems at best inefficient and at worst taking advantage of a power of collective bargaining. Surely there must be some logical explanation?

When you figure out why in the world the union might demand such an odd thing, you will be on your way to understanding why your response sounds so silly.

When you realize that the private equity firms had been pocketing the employee's 3% contribution to their pension funds since they conceded that as a "loan" in 2005, and that management was demanding that the employees forgive that loan and f*ck their own pensions, you might realize one of the main reasons that the union refused to capitulate on the new contract. The bankruptcy actually protects the employees' pensions, as the taxpayers will now be on the hook for making up the money the private equity firm payed themselves out of the pension fund.

Seriously, anyone who blames the union for not talking their employees into further capitulations after they had already given so much in the past few negotiations just has no f*cking idea what they are talking about.
 
2012-11-25 11:08:11 AM  

stiletto_the_wise: You know, I'd trade those cheap 2010-era batteries and stereos any day, for a 1960-era job that would let me buy a house, raise a family, afford medical care, and a pension to take care of me when I'm old--all on one income.


All of that can be yours if you decide to only have one TV in your house that picks up 3 channels, no air conditioning, a fireplace for heat and one family vehicle. Each and every one of us would go batshiat insane if we were thrust in to the way a 1960's family lived for a day. Thats probably why people get a drunk as possible and look for excuses to leave early whenever it is time to visit grandma and grandpa during the holidays.

ox45tallboy: I think the first thing you need to address is, why in the world would the union demand that separate products be shipped by different employees? That seems at best inefficient and at worst taking advantage of a power of collective bargaining. Surely there must be some logical explanation?


For the same reason why if i wanted to remodel my bathroom, I could hire a non-union handyman to do the tile work, replace the toilet, and install a power outlet in a day but if I hired a union contractor, I'd have to pay for him to sub the job to a floor guy, a plumber and electrician. Mindless waste and inefficiency are hallmarks of union work since the goal isn't to get the job done, it is to have as many guys on the clock and paying dues as possible.
 
2012-11-25 05:10:52 PM  

o5iiawah: For the same reason why if i wanted to remodel my bathroom, I could hire a non-union handyman to do the tile work, replace the toilet, and install a power outlet in a day but if I hired a union contractor, I'd have to pay for him to sub the job to a floor guy, a plumber and electrician. Mindless waste and inefficiency are hallmarks of union work since the goal isn't to get the job done, it is to have as many guys on the clock and paying dues as possible.


Nope. Try again.

Here's a starting place: grocery stores were making the bread companies stock their shelves as a condition of carrying the product.
 
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