U.S. creating mostly low-wage jobs

April 17, 2012

By John Seiler

A couple of days ago I wrote an article, “Why pensions are going broke.” It showed how the massive federal and state debts are weighing down the economy, which has not grown in 13 years. Hence, there’s going to be not enough money for the generous government-sector pensions.

A liberal commentator, “Truthsquad,” said that the U.S. economy always has bounced back. I left a response there. But there’s more information.

The Huffington Post, a liberal site, just ran an article about how America mainly is creating low-wage jobs. Sure, Silicon Valley and other places are creating great high-paying jobs — if your IQ is 180 and you’re a computer genius. For the rest of us, here’s what’s happening:

“Out of all OECD countries, the U.S. had the highest share of employees toiling away at low-wage work in 2009, according to OECD data cited by Mark Thoma, an economist at the University of Oregon. The graph was originally published in a January paper by John Schmitt, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

“One in four U.S. employees were low-wage workers in 2009, according to the OECD. That is 20 percent higher than in the number-two country, the United Kingdom. At 4 percent, Belgium has the smallest share of its in employees working in low-wage jobs. Low-wage work is defined as earning less than two-thirds of the country’s median hourly wage.”

Here’s the .pdf of the study.

And here’s a screen show I made of the graph:

Right wingers will say it’s because taxes and regulations are too high, so businesses can’t grow and make higher profits, which eventually get passed on to employees. Left wingers will say we need to raise taxes to “invest” more in education, because a better-educated workforce will produce higher-value products, thus increasing pay.

In any case, the point is that, right now, our workforce’s earning potential is stagnant or declining. And you can’t have high-dollar government pensions supported by low-dollar private-sector workers. Low-dollar workers can only support a low-dollar tax base to fund the pensions. Any fixes would work only long term.

Something has to break.

It will.

It is.




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  1. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 17 April, 2012, 21:14

    George Carlin had the wisdom and insight of Job. In his little 3 minute monologue “American Dream” he said that our owners want us to be just smart enough to punch the cash registers and operate the machines – and just stupid enough not to understand how badly we’re getting screwed by the system. And he’s right! I bet 10% of the American population tops knows that the average working wage in America has been stagnant for over 10 years. 5% of them tops know that the Federal government is borrowing $0.40 of every dollar it spends to run the system. Maybe 5% understand that 90% of the nation’s wealth is owned by 10% of the people.

    They’ve turned us into a nation of pizza delivers and Walmart register punchers. The Walmart register puncher sells the cheap chinese crap to the pizza deliverer by day – and the pizza deliverer shows up at the Walmart’s register puncher’s residence by night with a cheap $10 artery clogging pizza. That accounts for about 70% of our GDP.

    They are pulling a fast one on the American people and they are getting away with it due to a high degree of intentional dumbed down stupidity. You think these public schools are producing defective and failed students because of incompetence? BS. It’s intentional. The system is designed to produce idiots. Idiots are easy to control. Give an idiot a six pack of beer and a big screen and he’s happy as a sow rolling in the mud. Why do you think they are saturating us with indigent illegals? Because they want to create society of brain surgeons and a new breed of intelligensia. Come on, folks. I don’t have to point out the obvious to you, do I? For Christ sakes – THINK!

    Reply this comment
  2. Chuck DeVore
    Chuck DeVore 17 April, 2012, 22:04

    John, the group you cited is a liberal group. Wage levels are also determined by average age, and other factors, such as pay at the higher levels.

    Reply this comment
  3. Chuck DeVore
    Chuck DeVore 17 April, 2012, 22:14

    For instance, the U.S., with a large number of young immigrants and a higher birthrate, has a median age of 36.8 years. Belgium, at the bottom of the chart, with a more homogeneous population, less immigration, and a lower birthrate has a median age of 42.3 years. This is a huge difference statistically, John, and it would likely account for a correspondingly huge difference in wage level differences, i.e., less young people = less low wage people.

    Bottom line, be very careful when accepting conclusions from a left wing group that advocates for more unionism and more government handouts.

    Reply this comment
  4. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 17 April, 2012, 22:17

    So what exactly are you saying, Chuck? That everything’s hunky dory? Please translate.

    Reply this comment
  5. queeg
    queeg 18 April, 2012, 06:36

    Libs wanted Hawaii lite for California where tony spots cater to tourists and Nirvana movies are made for the great unwashed in the world to enjoy!!

    No manufacturing….high tech being taxed to death….utilities chasing windmills…service jobs with deadend futures abound!!”

    Libs love it….while a peanut butter sandwhich costs about as much as a service worker makes per hour in wages….

    Reply this comment
  6. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 April, 2012, 13:19

    This is all you really need to know, folks.

    FACT: The US Federal debt currently stands at $15.6T. 700% of current income.

    FACT: Our current revenue stands at about $2.3T.

    FACT: We are adding more than $1T each year to our gross Federal debtload.

    Look at it this way. Let’s say you had a heart to heart with your friendly banker to whom you owe $700,000. You tell him that you have an income of $100,000 and you admit that you are adding $50,000 each year to your accumulated debtload. After catching his breath Mr. Banker’s first course of action would be to get on the horn and cancel all your credit cards and existing lines of credit.

    You see, when the markets finally determine that the American tax base does not have the horsepower to slow down the deficit spending – let alone pay down the debt – it’s over. The bond markets dislocate. Just like you are starting to see in Europe. Look at the 10 year bond index in Spain. Watch closely and take copious notes.

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