If you’re a member of the working class, 1/3 of your pay has been stolen from you.
You would think this would be front page news every day until the problem is fixed. Not only is that a huge amount of money for a huge portion of the country, but you would expect our left leaning media to be all over this. There is no better evidence that capitalism, at least in its current state, is failing. If the left actually cared about the working class, if the wave of cultural Marxism that has spread through academia and the media was actually about the plight of workers oppressed by a distant and uncaring elite, no fact would be repeated more often than this.
And yet, aside from a handful of articles – such as one from the New York Times in 2011, and another from The Atlantic in 2015 – the issue hardly gets mentioned by the media. And even when it is mentioned, it is often editorialized in a way that distorts the problem and hides its root cause, if not outright lied about by a media with an agenda that has little to do with helping actual workers.
The evidence for the theft of 1/3 of the working class’ pay comes primarily from a left wing think tank called the Economic Policy Institute, and comes from a comparison of productivity growth in the economy vs the average hourly pay of non-management workers. Their graph shows that worker pay increased steadily at basically the same rate at productivity from the 1948 until 1972. In 1972, productivity was up 92.2% from where it was in 1948 while the average worker’s hourly compensation was up 91.3%. From 1972-3, productivity rose to 97.0% higher than its 1948 value while pay fell to only 91.0% higher than it was in 1948. Productivity and pay both fell from 1973-4, but productivity rose again from 1974-5 while pay declined for another year, widening the gap between productivity and pay growth to over 10% for the first time since 1948, a gap which would never close again.
Pay then rose more slowly than productivity for the rest of the 70s, fell during the 80s and early 90s, grew slowly again during the dotcom boom of the late 90s when productivity grew far more rapidly,