Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

US Productivity Goes Up, Corporate Profits Go Up, Workers’ Wages Go Down

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 6, 2013

What’s wrong with this picture? Everything:

more work, less pay

The red line is productivity, the green line is real median family income. The time period spans from 1947 to 2011.

Notice that while the red line has kept marching upward at roughly the same rate from beginning to end, the green line — which up to 1971 had matched up nearly exactly with the red line — stopped going upward forty years ago and has largely been stagnant since then?

While you’re considering the implications of this, here’s another chart covering a similar time period:

corporations earn more profits, but pay less taxes

So, to sum up:

— Productivity has gone up dramatically and continuously since 1947, and at roughly the same rate since 1947.
— Workers’ wages had risen at the same rate as their productivity from 1947 to 1971, but since 1971 their wages have not risen for the most part.
— Corporations since the early 1950s have seen their earned profits rise greatly, with the biggest rises occurring in the past twenty years, yet the amount of tax they pay on those earnings has gone down greatly.

How can a society sustain itself, much less its people, under these conditions?


3 Responses to “US Productivity Goes Up, Corporate Profits Go Up, Workers’ Wages Go Down”

  1. Charles II said

    PW asks: How can a society sustain itself, much less its people, under these conditions?

    Can it even sustain the corporations that are profiting from these conditions?

    The United States is being systematically looted, and everyone–even the looters–will end up the poorer for it.

    • Well, I’m sure the CEOs just figure that they can pull a Depardieu and jet off for Russia. But soon they’ll find out that they won’t like Russia all that much.

  2. MarkH said

    If anyone had the desire to point to the seeds of the failure of Capitalism the posts chart on productivity and worker pay could be it. Just sayin’.

    I suppose the rich figure they can do anything so long as there’s no media (they don’t own) reporting on their behavior. As long as the media report on “if it bleeds it leads” ‘news’ the white collar criminals can destroy the world economy by messing up mortgages or destroy the unions or hold down worker pay and absolutely nobody will know…except the workers and home owners and all the 98%. Haven’t our politicians noticed?

    No discussion of raising the minimum wage will touch the Senator’s ears as they may be offended. Much the same way the Right denies gun violence has anything to do with guns. La la la la.

    Sometimes I wonder if there really is a government ‘of the People by the People and for the People’. Even when we have a leader they are too often pushed aside, murdered, unelectable or simply called “not a leader” and ignored (as Spkr Boehner has called Obama).

    Maybe when there’s enough money to buy the state legislatures we can end the jerry-mandered district lines and return a more perfect Union with a House of the same kind.

    We need something to keep maniacs from murdering tens of people every so often. We need a raised minimum wage. We need health care for everyone. We need the debt paid by those with the money instead of the middle-class. But, will we get those things? Gotta yell loud & stuff.

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