Labor Not: ‘To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die’

September 7, 2015

picasso__le_repas_frugal-e1340367392424Foggy and a bit on the chilly side this Monday morning on California’s north coast — most-likely all will burn off later with sunshine and ocean breezes set for the afternoon.

And today, of course, is Labor Day — if you didn’t know that, you are in need of some help — and supposedly a time set aside for all those who labor at labor, which is work. Unless you’re retired, then maybe it can be called former-laborer Labor Day, or whatever, but here’s to the nearly 160 million Americans still laboring — hopefully some with today off.
However, one big shit-stick for labor is wages: ‘A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute found that net productivity grew by 21.6 percent from 2000 to 2014, but inflation-adjusted compensation for the median worker grew by just 1.8 percent.’

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Frugal Meal,’ found here).

In other words, we’re working for nearly nothing. Except me — now a year since retirement, but still have more than 50 years of toil crusted within my background — but I have no desire to labor anymore.
Wonder at it — salary biggest driving force for labor (via The Motley Fool):

This might be about as shocking as the sky being blue, but a survey conducted by CareerBuilder in 2013 asked more than 3,900 full-time workers what factors are most important when it comes to job satisfaction and retention, and salary was, by far, the key factor.
Having a company car, or personal office, occupied the bottom of the list, with 14 percent and 17 percent approval, respectively, while salary (88 percent), flexible schedule (59 percent), and a special title (55 percent) occupied the top-three spots.

Special title?
And the biggest ‘perk‘ workers look for beyond the salary…’half-off Fridays absolutely crushed the second-place perk — an on-site fitness center — by a score of 40 percent to 20 percent.’

However, the biggest loop for labor is still wages: ‘Since 2000, just 8 percent of productivity growth has gone back to workers.’
And along with the Iraqi mess; Katrina; the financial meltdown, or The Great Recession; and beyond a host of other problems, wages for the average-Joe American was bent out of shape by none other…wait for it…George W Bush and associates. After Bill Clinton boosted wages, the worst occupier of the White House in all of US history, tore it asunder.
Yesterday, from the Guardian:

The answer can be found in the pages of a report for the Brookings Institute that looks for the first time at census data going back to the beginning of the 1980s and examines groups of workers and charts their progress as they age.

The new data shows that many of them had much higher incomes to splash on homes and cars.
Instead the anger comes from their gains being wiped out from the 2001 recession onwards.
And the only response of George W Bush’s team and the Federal Reserve was to protect the rich with tax cuts and cheer workers with ultra low interest rates that, as we know, underpinned the sub-prime mortgage scandal.
Both Trump and Sanders appeal to people who blame the slide in their living standards over the last decade, at least in part, on a political elite that failed to understand their concerns.

The momentum dissipated in the first Bush presidency between 1989 and 1993 and accelerated again in the Clinton years before running out of steam in the early 2000s
Then came the downturn.
The second Bush era, under George W, was painful for almost all but twentysomething college graduates, who even survived the 2008 crash with barely a scratch, and was worst for those without a high school diploma.
Shapiro says the least educated saw their incomes “devastated” after 2001.

And on this Labor Day, don’t labor too much on the future…looks shitty, too.
As Bill Shakespeare would utter forever regarding George W: ‘…that unlettered small-knowing soul, that shallow vassal…

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