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From the Economic Policy Institute:

“Wage trends greatly determine how fast incomes at the middle and bottom grow, as well as the overall path of income inequality, as we argued in Raising America’s Pay. This is for the simple reason that most households, including those with low incomes, rely on labor earnings for the vast majority of their income. That is why my initial look at the data from the newly released Census Bureau report on income and, poverty in 2013 will look at wages and the incomes of working age households.

The Census data show that from 2012 to 2013, median household income for non-elderly households (those with a head of household younger than 65 years old) increased 0.4 percent from $58,186 to $58,448. However, that modest growth barely begins to offset the losses incurred during the Great Recession or the losses that prevailed in the prior business cycle from 2000 to 2007. Between 2007 and 2013, median household income for non-elderly households dropped from $63,527 to $58,448, a decline of $5,079, or 8.0 percent. Furthermore, the disappointing trends of the Great Recession and its aftermath come on the heels of the weak labor market from 2000-2007, where the median income of non-elderly households fell significantly, from $65,785 to $63,527, the first time in the post-war period that incomes failed to grow over a business cycle. Altogether, from 2000 to 2013, median income for non-elderly households fell from $65,785 to $58,448, a decline of $7,337, or 11.2 percent.”

So the question is: why has average US family income dropped from $65,785 in 2000 to $63,527 in 2007 and then to $58,448 in 2013?

The answer is simple. The money has been redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, which is why the stock markets and corporate earnings are at record levels and family income has plummeted for fourteen years, and now remains static and historically low.

Free trade treaties, for example, have shipped jobs overseas, and the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower overseas wages and benefits has gone directly from the 99 percent and into the pockets of the 1 percent thanks to politicians such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. Nearly two million US jobs were exported from the US in 2013, according to the Federal Reserve. Around thirty million have been exported since 1990. Thank you Senator Wyden.

Corporations have also pushed the income of their employees down, except of course, for CEO’s and important members of the major Wall Street investment banks. Many of these Wall Street people earn millions of dollars by illegally ripping off the retirement accounts of working Americans. US politicians make certain they’re able to do it. See the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

There are a myriad of other ways the government acts as a legislative conduit to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This has been ongoing since 1981.

Essentially, this means that the current massive income and wealth inequality we experience today is a function of tax cuts for the rich, which were then used to corrupt government at all levels, as well as both political parties.

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There was an article in the Oregonian Newspaper on January 10, 2010 in which UCLA Professor Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda claimed his research showed that wages in the United States went up after amnesty for undocumented workers was granted in November 1986. Apparently the good professor didn’t know that real private sector hourly wages began rising earlier than that, in January 1986. Real wages reached $7.99 an hour during November 1986, and then immediately began a seven and a half year decline starting in December 1986. Real wages didn’t reach that November 1986 level again until February, 1999.

If there is a link between amnesty for undocumented workers and real wages, as Hinojosa-Ojeda claims, it is that granting amnesty will lower the standard of living for everybody for years and maybe even decades to come.

I don’t know where Hinojosa-Ojeda got his numbers, but I got mine in less than ten minutes, on-line, at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Real wages measure the true standard of living. When wages rise, inflation is subtracted from it, and that is the real wage. For example, if your wage is ten dollars an hour and then it rises during a twelve month period to $10.20, your wage went up 2 percent. However, if inflation went up 5 percent, you lost fifty cents of spending power out of that $10.20. Therefore, your real wage declined because you need to subtract that fifty cents from your $10.20. Your spending power is only $9.70. Your real wage declined.

Real wages dropped like a rock for seven and a half after the last amnesty. Although it is conjecture, as illegal workers acquired a path to citizenship, the legal labor force swelled and depressed wages.

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Could the Dow Sink Below 6,000?

In September 2007, I predicted the current recession, the Fed dropping the federal funds rate to zero, deflation, home mortgage interest rates “will drop below 5 percent and possibly 4 percent,” and numerous other things. Of those numerous other things I also said the Dow Jones Industrials will drop below 8,000 and “possibly” drop below 6,000.

My suggesting the Dow could plummet below 6,000 is not a 100% prediction, more of a strong feeling, a musing of a possibility that represents how weak the economy has become under the disastrous Republican economic policies of the last thirty years. And so we may yet reach that sad stage as billions of dollars of illusionary money disappears.

The below 6,000 possibility is now in sight. But we’re not likely to reach there overnight, it’s more a matter of months if we ever reach it, and there is yet a good possibility such a dubious outcome can be had.

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