|
|
The Lake News Online
  • Jim Brock: Whose American Dream?

    • email print
      Comment
  • After watching an entertaining episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” I was compelled to do a little research of my own concerning wage disparity in the U.S.
    According to a Sept. 10, 2013, report from The Associated Press, the top 1 percent of U.S. wage earners in 2012 earned 19.3 percent of total household income, while the top 10 percent earned 48.2 percent.
    According to that same report, this is the widest wage gap since 1928.
    So if my calculations are correct, 90 percent of Americans earned about 50 percent of the nation’s income.
    According to a March 2012 report from Forbes.com, the average annual income of the top 1 percent was $717,000.
    The top .01 percent, however, earn in the neighborhood of $27 million on average.
    That is quite a disparity, especially when you factor in how much more has been earned since then.
    So let’s look at the numbers.
    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average weekly wages for U.S. workers rose a whopping 1.3 percent in 2013, according to AP.
    In May 2013, the BLS reported the national average for annual salaries in the U.S. to be $46,440.
    But CEOs are definitely cashing in, to the tune of about $10 million a year.
    Another AP report from May 2014 reported that “the head of a typical large public company earned a record $10.5 million [in 2013], an increase of 8.8 percent from $9.6 million in 2012.”
    Most people shrug it off and say, “That’s the American Dream.”
    But whose dream is it, really?
    When the cost of everything goes up but wages remain virtually stagnant, there is a big problem.
    We live in a consumer-driven economy, and if companies want to remain in business, they must provide employees with a sustainable wage.
    If not, the men, women and children in America will be unable to consume their products.
    It’s simple economics.
    Sending industries overseas and cutting jobs to save money might pay off short-term, but in the end, it will only create what we have now — a nation dependent on government assistance.
    Sure, the right-wing rhetoric about “takers” and “job creators” works now, but eventually, that wage gap will continue to widen. To assign the term “lazy” and “incompetent” to everyone who draws government assistance is irresponsible and arrogant.
    We bought into the so-called War on Terrorism for a while, but when we saw what it did to our sons and daughters in uniform, we were quickly disillusioned. Now, it’s only a matter of time before our financial futures go up in smoke.
    It’s difficult for the federal government to pay its bills when the “job creators” skirt their financial responsibilities through tax loopholes. And it’s nothing short of duplicitous when they blame it on the poor, sick and elderly.
    Page 2 of 2 - Washington has a spending problem because big business has a saving problem, and the only people they are saving are themselves.
    Ponder that!
    ——
    Jim Brock writes for the Nebraska City News-Press.

        calendar