The March Backwards

Thursday, September 15, 2005 at 07:13 AM

America's march backwards continues with this morning's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports that:

(1) Real average weekly earnings fell by half of a percent from July to August after seasonal adjustment, with a 0.1 percent increase in
average hourly earnings more than offset by a 0.6 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

(2) Average weekly earnings rose by 2.7 percent from August 2004 to August 2005. but again that increase was more than offset by inflation, for a net decrease of 1.1 percent in real wages.

(3) Unadjusted figures showed average weekly earnings of $545.70 in August 2005, compared with $535.57 a year earlier.

According to this week's The Economist magazine, the US is one of a very few industrialized countries experiencing a drop in real wages--what you can afford to buy.

Diminishing real wages, cutbacks in environmental protection, reduction of oversight of stock trading and corporate reporting, diminishing numbers of unionized workers, increasing college tuition, increasing cost of college textbooks, astronomical growth in health care costs, no public transportation tof any value outside a few major cities, gas prices making it increasingly hard for the poor to own a car, dismantlement of federal welfare programs, strident insistence that Social Security begin the process of privatization....

Good news for nostalgia buffs, 19th century, here we come!