A number of pundits and some economists are talking about “structural unemployment.” They assert that changes brought about by globalization, technology and worker preparedness (or lack thereof) mean that we should get used to higher unemployment and lower wages.
If you’re a middle- or low-income worker, the message is: brace for change. Lower your expectations. Don’t expect to be going on any more vacations and definitely don’t get sick. If you’re a child who wasn’t lucky enough to be born a Rockefeller or a Romney, expect to be paying back your student loans until your own kids are ready to enroll.
But why aren’t shareholders and occupants of the C-Suites being told to lower their expectations – to tighten the old belt a few notches? Republicans love to hate “redistribution” of wealth through taxation. But they love redistribution when it means that top managers and shareholders get an ever bigger piece of the profit pie.
A graph by Lawrence Mishel shows that until the early 70s, increases in productivity were matched by increases in wages. Since then, wages have hardly budged as productivity continues to increase. So, where are the profits going?
Do I really have to tell you? According to the Economic Policy Institute, CEO pay spiked 725% between 1978 and 2011, while worker pay rose just 5.7%.
If you want to know what CEOs make relative to the median worker, click here. Then light your torch and grab your pitchfork.