Obameconomy: Wages Almost Flatlining

The jobs report released Friday was bad. “Unexpectedly”. We seem to see quite a few of these. Though the White House always tells usit is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” But there was another little bomb within the report, and Nelson D. Schwartz at the NY Times performs a random act of journalism

For the more than 10 million Americans who are out of work, finding a job is hard. For the 145 million or so who are employed, getting a raise is even harder.

The government said on Friday that employers added 113,000 jobs in January, the second straight month of anemic growth, despite some signs of strength in the broader economy. The unemployment rate inched down in January to 6.6 percent, the lowest level since October 2008, from 6.7 percent in December.

But the report also made plain what many Americans feel in their bones: Wages are stuck, and barely rose at all in 2013. They were up 1.9 percent last year, or a mere 0.4 percent after accounting for inflation. Not only was that increase even smaller than the one recorded in 2012, it was half the normal rate of wage gains in the two decades before the last recession.

Don’t read too much into an anemic 0.4% after inflation for an entire year.

The stagnation helps explain why many people feel apprehensive even though the economy grew at a robust pace in the second half of 2013, corporate profits rose, the stock market boomed and the housing market continued to gain ground. The issue cuts across the American work force. In fact, white-collar workers did a bit worse than blue-collar workers last year in terms of wage growth.

Companies aren’t confident enough to spend, expand, create growth, which affects wages. The profits and stock market are outliers, but aren’t indicitive of the overall economy. This is the Obama economy.

This must be Bush’s fault, right? Even though he hasn’t been president since 1/20/2009, and the current pResident has even won a second term

“People are running in place in terms of their living standards,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “There’s almost no growth in spending power.” As recently as 2008, when the economy sank deeper into recession and Lehman Brothers collapsed, wages still managed to rise by 3.5 percent, before inflation. But the combination of a backlog of workers left behind in the recession’s wake, as well as productivity gains resulting from new technologies, means salaries may not rebound anytime soon.

Of course, none of this could possibly be the fault of the Democrat in the White House nor the Democrats who control the Senate, none of who are interested in passing legislation that stimulates hiring and market based wage increases. Most in the White House, including Mr. Obama, have no idea what running a company feels like in the real world. They’ve never done it. Furthermore, their rules and regulations are stifling business, which will affect wages. Welcome to the “new normal”.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

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19 Responses to “Obameconomy: Wages Almost Flatlining”

  1. Jeffery says:

    Duh! Have you not heard the talk lately about income and wealth inequality in the US being a problem? Wages for the working classes have been stagnant for decades – since the 60s (which was when Obama was born – fodder for the conspiracists here). Why? “Free trade” deals – policies that put American workers in competition with cheaper, foreign labor; union busting; unemployment (keeps downward pressure on wages) – the Fed reserve and Congress fight inflation at the expense of employment; immigration policy; “strong” dollar policies – which make US manufactured goods more expensive than imports.

    In fact our government – elites all – whether Dem or Republican – support policies that reward the wealthy at the expense of blue collar and white collar workers. Decades of these policies have brought us to the point where average incomes do not support families and do not drive our consumer-dependent economy.

    Our economic system is failing most Americans. The working classes need more money.

  2. Jeffery says:

    Whenever I hear RWNJs complaining about the economy I ask them if they have sworn off every penny of government support? You should see the looks on their faces when it sinks in that they are complete and total hypocrites! When RWNJs are serious and start walking the walk of fiscal conservatism maybe we’ll listen. But until you give up Social Security, unemployment payments, Medicare, Medicaid, enjoying the comforts and freedoms afforded you by our military and driving on interstate highways, we’ll assume you aren’t really serious.

    If a RWNJ accepts even one penny of federal help they have no say on economic issues, because they are hypocrites, taking other peoples’ money to support themselves.

    Until you stop sucking at the teat of Uncle Sugar, it’s hard to take you seriously. You want others to do as you say, not as you do. But why do you insist that other Americans cut back while you continue to take, take, take. Hypocrites!

  3. john says:

    corporate profits are at all time highs and sharholder value (Dow) are all doing well Teach do you believe that it is the duty of Gummint to force capitalists to hire more and pay more? Labor unions were crushed, they would have been able to demand more of the profits to be shared with the workers

  4. john says:

    and just how unimportant do you think those “outliers” are? and business HAS been investing heavily in expansion partly from all the extra profits they make by keeping wages low. Teach are you now in favor of eaising the minimum wage? Most real Americans ARE in favor I think you may be an outlier on that issue

  5. gitarcarver says:

    Until you stop sucking at the teat of Uncle Sugar, it’s hard to take you seriously. You want others to do as you say, not as you do. But why do you insist that other Americans cut back while you continue to take, take, take. Hypocrites!

    Except Jeffery, most of the things that you talk about such as highways, Social Security, etc are paid for with taxpayer money. Like many liberals, you seem to think that it is the government that funds and pay for these programs. It is not. It is the people.

    It is almost as if you think that people thinking the government reaching into the pockets of people at the point of a sword means the people can’t say “enough.” It is almost as if you think that the government has the right to control the actions and the pocketbooks of the people.

    Oh wait. That is not “almost” what you think – that is what you think.

    You truly hate the freedoms upon which the country was founded.

  6. gitarcarver says:

    Teach are you now in favor of eaising the minimum wage?

    Whether Teach is for the raising of the minimum wage or not is not the issue, john.

    The question is rather the government has the right to insert itself into a private contract between two people when there is no compelling governmental interest.

  7. david7134 says:

    Watching two liberals go on about money is truly amusing. I looked up the average salaries in America and found that under Bush (a liberal) the average was close to $45,000 then under Obama it has fallen to $33,000. I know that when we had similar problems we dropped the tax rate and regulations and the economy took off.

    John, if you raise the minimum wage, then more jobs will go to foreign competitors. Is that what you want? When you raise minimum wage this raises the salary of union members and others as it is indexed on the minimum wage. Those people will lose their jobs as we are paying too much for labor now, that is why we are in trouble.

    The disparity between rich and poor is meaningless and has nothing to do with basic economics. About 20% of our population can not preform, no matter what. I know as I see them daily. In fact, if they win the lottery, they are poor again in 5 years. When Germany was totally destroyed after WWII and everyone had to start over, those that had been rich were rich again and those that had been poor were poor again. To help all you let the rich do what they do and everyone will benefit, it works every time. Now, I will take my SSI, every damn penny and I don’t need it, but it was taken out of my salary when I was so poor I could not eat, and I did not get the government hand outs. I will take Medicare, as I paid into that system. It is like this, if you live in a communistic nation, then you operate as a communist, even if you hate it, because that is the system. What we want is to change the system back to what is was to begin with.

  8. pete says:

    We see polling asking whether Obama or Bush is responsible for problems of economy.
    I would like to see the same poll done with the choice of whether Obama or Reagan is responsible. The results might tell us something about poll validity.

  9. Jeffery says:


    So you admit that you are a hypocrite and take government handouts. Since I almost certainly pay much more in taxes than you, YOU are taking money out of my pocket.

    Come back when you swear off taking money from other citizens, then we can talk.

  10. Jeffery says:


    So you also admit you are a hypocrite, which according to conservatives is the worst crime of all.

    Don’t you think we should cut government spending? Yet, you mooch off me? It’s ok if you take a handout, but not ok for others. Got it.

    If conservatives really believed in the free market, competition and small government they would stop accepting Social Security and Medicare.

  11. Jeffery says:


    There is no evidence that raising the minimum wage reduces employment.

    If the complaint is that wages are not increasing, how does keeping downward pressure on wages help??

    What is your solution for increasing employment and increasing the wages of the working classes? I know, I know… cut taxes for the wealthy and cut safety, financial and environmental regulations.

  12. gitarcarver says:

    So you admit that you are a hypocrite and take government handouts.

    Nice try Jeffery, but a massive fail.

    It is not hypocritical to use one’s own money.

    That is quite different from your hypocrisy where you demand others do things that you will not do.

    There is no evidence that raising the minimum wage reduces employment.

    Actually there is. Amongst others:

    The Cato Institute, while analyzing the findings of economic theory and empirical research regarding the minimum wage over the past 70 years, discovered that minimum wage increases tend to reduce employment. The higher the minimum wage relative to competitive-market wage levels, the greater the employment loss that occurs.

    In fact, the Department of Labor’s own assessment of the first 25-cent minimum wage in 1938 found that it resulted in job losses for 30,000 to 50,000 workers, or 10 to 13 percent of the 300,000 covered workers who previously earned below the new wage floor.

    A 1978 article in the American Economic Review reported that 90 percent of surveyed economists believe the minimum wage increases unemployment for low-skilled workers. A similar 1992 survey found that 79 percent of economists believed a minimum wage increases unemployment for low-skilled workers.

    Economists at Cornell and American Universities have estimated that the minimum wage hike proposed by the president “would eliminate at least 467,000 jobs, and would not reduce poverty, as a majority of beneficiaries live in households with incomes about the poverty level.”

    Your statement also does not take into account planned growth of a business. For example, if a company was looking to hire people but now has to pay higher wages for the same work output, they may not expand or higher more people. So while the business may not cut jobs, they may not expand or increase the number of jobs either.

    Once again, you are either deliberately misinformed or lying.

  13. jl says:

    Nice try, J. “Government handouts”. To we who pay taxes they are not handouts-as said before, it is fitting and proper that we receive something in return for paying taxes and supporting the almost 50% of workers who pay no income tax. Have you ever taken a civics lesson? Who the hell do you think funds “government handouts”? The taxpayers, in case you didn’t know.

  14. jl says:

    J “Conservatives would stop accepting social security and medicare.” J, do you not see on your paycheck where they take out social security taxes and medicare taxes? Try and keep up.

  15. Jeffery says:


    So you think the poor should pay higher taxes so you can pay less? How does that help raise the income of the workers?

    Even poor workers who pay little or no income taxes still pay the payroll taxes on their wages, and you would agree that they deserve their Social Security and Medicare. In addition, they pay local taxes, sales taxes, property taxes etc.

    How do you hope to balance the budget if everyone deserves their handouts, especially you.

    You also must agree that since I pay so much in taxes that I deserve to take more from the government than you. Thanks.

    The middle class is not sharing in the rewards of this economy.

  16. gitarcarver says:

    So you think the poor should pay higher taxes so you can pay less? How does that help raise the income of the workers?

    Can you show where anyone said this, Jeffery?

    How about we lower spending which would result in an attempt to balance the budget as well as lowering the taxes on all people?

    Or does the concept of people being able to keep the money they own bother you?

  17. Jl says:

    J- when I said to try and keep up, I didn’t know that you’d fall even further nehind. I see you totally ignore your screwup on S.S. And Medicare, as those are paid for by taxes taken out of ones’s paycheck. And as said above, no one said whatever the voices in your head told you they said. I think everyone should have to pay at least some income tax, not to lower mine but for fairness. And once you have 51% of the people paying no income tax they”ll always vote to raise taxes. So long, United States. “How do you hope to balance the budget?” For staters by having all Americans pay some income tax, as said above.

  18. david7134 says:

    I really doubt that you pay much in taxes, unless it was given to you. I have paid in the six digits yearly and want the money back, now I really don’t care what you think as I have no respect for you.

  19. david7134 says:

    There is plenty of evidence to show that rising wages in the US results in movement of jobs to other countries. Plus, most people that are hiring minimum wage earners are indicating that they will cut back. We are in a depression and you don’t rock the boat in a depression. Look at the disaster that FDR created with his manipulations.

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