The war on the middle class began in 1981 with a well orchestrated anti-labor union message spread throughout all aspects of the national news media. It was a full frontal assault. It still is.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, “As a broad attack on unions continues, with Republican politicians leading efforts to eliminate unions or weaken them in Illinois and Wisconsin, Missouri and West Virginia, and county-by-county in Kentucky, it’s wise to think about what’s at stake. We now know what happens when employers hold most of the cards and employee power is diminished: profits and CEO pay skyrocket, and worker pay flat lines.
It is no coincidence that, as the Figure (above) shows, the share of income going to the broad middle class began to fall as union membership and power were reduced. The middle 60 percent of families depend primarily on wages for their income, so as the unions’ ability to raise wages diminished, so did the ability of middle class families to earn a fair share of the nation’s growing income. Research has shown that as unions were less able to establish wage standards the wages of nonunion workers in the same occupations and sectors were also reduced. Politicians who care about the middle class should be looking for ways to help workers gain access to collective bargaining and restore union strength. They certainly ought not weaken them further and limit or forbid collective bargaining.”
International income redistribution agreements, falsely marketed as free trade agreements, have been the primary tool used by corporate CEOs in their war against labor unions. These agreements allowed US corporations to export nearly 30 million jobs between 1990 and 2010, and millions more since then. See Exporting Jobs–Global Intersection. Millions of these were labor union jobs.
When a job is exported the difference between the old higher wages and the new lower wages is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices. The citizens who lose their jobs might wind up with unemployment insurance, if they’re lucky.
This is one of the reasons why Thomas Piketty is able to write in his international best seller Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century that the US has the greatest mal-distribution of labor income of any nation in the history of the world. CEO pay has skyrocketed in large measure because they are able to ship millions of jobs overseas and redistribute part of the proceeds into their own pockets.
This is also why the 1 percent have gotten wealthier over the last thirty years. Currently, the 1 percent steal a little over 36 percent of all the income produced in the United States, up from 8 percent in 1978. At the current rate of growth, the 1 percent will steal about 40 percent of the total income produced in the USA by next year.
The economic and political strategy of the 1 percent has been quite sound; destroy the middle class by shipping jobs overseas, while simultaneously attacking labor unions at home. That’s why there is such a vicious assault on public employee labor unions, and such a large push to give Fast Track Authority to President Obama, so that he can sign the Trans Pacific Partnership into law when it is introduced into congressional debate. This is the largest income and political power redistribution scam in US history, and it is falsely being labeled a free trade agreement.