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David Dayen: Productivity Rose 7.7% Post-Great Recession; Workers Have Seen None of It

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By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger, now a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen

I’ve said this before in other venues, but this really is the chart that explains modern America:

Worker-Productivity-Annual-Wage-Compensation

It’s the famous wage/productivity chart, showing the cleavage around 1973 and the far greater discrepancy after the 1980s recession. Basically we’ve been living with the consequences of this wage/productivity gap ever since.

And I tend to think it explains every single economic challenge that we face. It clearly stands in for inequality, as all the wealth accumulated from the productivity gains does go somewhere, mainly into the hands of a rentier class. The over-financialization of the economy sprouted as a way to manage and divert these productivity gains after they didn’t flow to labor, in addition to demanding that these gains not get plowed back into wages. Flat wages play a part in ever-expanding credit bubbles, in the low savings rate and the easy enticement of get-rich quick schemes or simply desperate borrowing to maintain standards of living. The skyrocketing cost of tuition and the subsequent student debt bubble comes with the bill of sale that the only way to escape wage stagnation is to shuffle through the meritocratic assembly line and purchase more and more education (this is a chimera, as wage growth has slowed for college graduates as well, and student debt additionally hinders prosperity). Wage stagnation is at the heart of our low household formation and the implications for construction and building trades. It’s why QE is more and more meaningless to a larger and larger class of wage-flatlined Americans (particularly Treasury purchases, at least in the view of that linked Jackson Hole paper). It defines the middle-class squeeze, the two-income trap, the inadequacy of retirement resources and the flow of so much of that system into the waiting arms of the financial services industry. I’m sure you could come up with something that doesn’t lead back into wage stagnation (climate change? I think I could argue it), but I think my point stands.

Therefore, I find the Economic Policy Institute’s report this past week (a few days old in Internet time, but it’s important) on a decade of flat wages from before and after the Great Recession to be at once essential reading and also rather incomplete, because it’s just another chapter in what is now a forty-year story, with no sign of abatement. Larry Mishel and Heidi Shierholz are right to say that “an economy that does not provide shared prosperity is, by definition, a poorly performing one.” And so we’ve had a poorly performing economy for nearly half a century.

EPI does acknowledge this (“most workers have experienced weak wage growth for more than three decades”), but sets this paper in the context of a ten-year issue because of the intervening segment of the late 1990s, when we had tight labor markets and some broad wage gains. However, as Dean Baker often shouts from the rooftops, this was built on a foundation of sand, driven by a stock bubble and an overvalued dollar which cost millions of jobs and set the stage for a further redistribution of wealth.

Wherever you set the marker, this remains the fundamental issue for the vast majority of Americans. I think the key findings speak for themselves:

According to every major data source, the vast majority of U.S. workers—including white-collar and blue-collar workers and those with and without a college degree—have endured more than a decade of wage stagnation. Wage growth has significantly underperformed productivity growth regardless of occupation, gender, race/ethnicity, or education level.

During the Great Recession and its aftermath (i.e., between 2007 and 2012), wages fell for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution, despite productivity growth of 7.7 percent.

Weak wage growth predates the Great Recession. Between 2000 and 2007, the median worker saw wage growth of just 2.6 percent, despite productivity growth of 16.0 percent, while the 20th percentile worker saw wage growth of just 1.0 percent and the 80th percentile worker saw wage growth of just 4.6 percent.

The weak wage growth over 2000–2007, combined with the wage losses for most workers from 2007 to 2012, mean that between 2000 and 2012, wages were flat or declined for the entire bottom 60 percent of the wage distribution (despite productivity growing by nearly 25 percent over this period).

Wage growth in the very early part of the 2000–2012 period, between 2000 and 2002, was still being bolstered by momentum from the strong wage growth of the late 1990s. Between 2002 and 2012, wages were stagnant or declined for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution. In other words, the vast majority of wage earners have already experienced a lost decade, one where real wages were either flat or in decline.

This lost decade for wages comes on the heels of decades of inadequate wage growth. For virtually the entire period since 1979 (with the one exception being the strong wage growth of the late 1990s), wage growth for most workers has been weak. The median worker saw an increase of just 5.0 percent between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity growth of 74.5 percent—while the 20th percentile worker saw wage erosion of 0.4 percent and the 80th percentile worker saw wage growth of just 17.5 percent.

This is all worse when you consider that the relatively better wage growth in 2012-2013 is probably a factor of lower inflation. Clearly the labor market is slack enough that no employer needs to reach and offer higher wages to retain personnel. Meanwhile, unemployment benefits are shrinking in all states (a consequence of Congressional deals which rolled back emergency benefit tiers – you can’t get more than 73 weeks now, down from 99 weeks, and in many states it’s down to 46 weeks) at a faster rate than the labor market has actually improved.

The key pull that EPI’s Josh Bivens makes in a follow-up post is that profit growth looks about the same in the post-Great Recession recovery as in other recent ones. If the profit share was even at the 1979-2007 average, Bivens calculates that the result would be an additional $350 billion in labor income, or an additional $6,900 for every worker in the corporate sector. And this would have sparked greater consumer spending, leading to a faster recovery. As it is, corporate profits returned with enough rapidity that elites were able to pivot quickly away from stimulus and toward deficit reduction.

The money graf:

A last, possibly peevish sidenote—while we’re often accused (correctly!) of being pretty gloomy on the economic picture for most American families, we’re also often accused (incorrectly!) of feeding a sense of fatalism by not providing potential solutions or highlighting what could be changed. We’ve got some solutions here, and, we should note that there is a glimmer of good news in Larry and Heidi’s analysis: we are a rich country that gets richer just about every year. Look at the productivity trends (check out Table 1) in their piece—in 2012 productivity was nearly 8 percent higher than it was at the start of the Great Recession! The problem is insuring that these potential income gains actually are broadly shared—and this is mostly a political problem.

Bivens claims that political problems are better than economic problems, but I’m not sure I agree. If political problems could be surmounted there would have been something approaching progress at some point over the past forty years. It took us until 2011 to even name the problem in public, and even then through the bumper sticker rhetorical device of the 99%. EPI cites globalization, deregulation, weaker unionization and a lower relative minimum wage as the culprits. Workers are given cheap Chinese-made goods at Walmart to allegedly compensate for flat wages. But the high cost of low prices is obvious. And while there are solutions to all of this, the cast of characters that line up on either side made it plain that establishing progress on any of these fronts will be a torturous slog.

Incidentally, if you look at the version of the productivity/wage chart in the EPI paper that’s updated from 2000-2013, you’ll see that the productivity growth really accelerated starting with the first quarter of 2009, while labor growth started to fall from its high-water mark. What happened then?

(A cheap shot, perhaps – the bounce-back off the recession is a factor – but one to consider. No party held a monopoly in the 1973-2013 period.)

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37 comments

  1. Hugh

    Two points: First, the initial graph shows average hourly wages and compensation. A more accurate measure would be weekly wages and compensation. This would probably make the graph look worse because average weekly hours have been declining.

    Second, we need to keep in mind that there are two kinds of productivity gains. There are those that come from investment in workers (education/training, retaining good workers and paying them more, benefits to protect their health and that of their families, etc.) and in plant (technology, machines, new methods, etc.). And there are those that come from cutting wages, benefits, and staff and demanding the same quantity of work (regardless of its deteriorating quality) from fewer and/or more poorly compensated workers.

    A parenthetical point, a counter-intuitive phenomenon in recessions is that both average and median income can increase. This is because workers at the lower end of the wage spectrum often get hammered the most and lose the most jobs.

    1. C

      Agreed. I think the problem can be put more simply. Productivity gains have been made by firing workers in the U.S. Ergo they have been a direct loss.

  2. GRP

    In a market economy wages have no correlation to employee productivity either individually or collectively. Those that deem it “unfair” should advocate and work for a different kind of economy.

    1. LucyLulu

      Where would one find this “market” economy to work in? Are you referring to here in the US; where oil companies (making record profits) receive billions in subsidies; financial institutions keep their profits while taxpayers pick up their losses; the government purchases close to half of all healthcare; compensation of retail sector employees (who limit hours to less than 32 hours but rotate schedules thus preventing 2nd jobs) are often subsidized by Medicaid and food stamps; little manufacturing work is performed in this country at all; the ultra-wealthy purchase legislation that allows them to pay 15% rates on their income (that isn’t sheltered altogether in the Caymans or Cook Islands) while median earners pay 28%; and laws are enforced unequally, dependent upon economic status and racial heritage. Despite myths of a meritocracy, even the most vapid and clueless children of the elite will remain among the ranks of the elite (Paris Hilton comes to mind), while few of the most talented children of poverty will manage to escape its grip.

      Do you mean THAT market economy?

      BTW, in decades past, when I was younger, increased profits earned by a company were typically shared with the employees. Employers treated their workers well and were rewarded with loyal and happy employees who gave their bosses their best efforts. Turnover was low, cutting training costs (they used to say that the first year of employment was almost a total loss for the company). It was a win-win situation. Today it is a win-lose situation, as employees are falling further and further behind, despite adding a second income and considerable debt, as executives and owners see their incomes multiply. (Who is supposed to supply the necessary demand when workers have no discretionary income?)

      Also gone is any sense of employer loyalty. Layoffs, zero-contracts, temporary jobs are increasingly the norm. Baby-boomers will be replaced by Gen Y and Gen X workers with different ingrained work ethics (no sense of loyalty towards employer given none ever reciprocated). Imagine businesses with employees who have Snowden-like mindsets, deemed heros by their peers for overthrowing their corporate overlords. Your market economy will not end well.
      Or to be more accurate, it’s not ending well. The US is one of the world’s richest countries and as Simon Johnson says, former chief economist at the IMF, we’re looking remarkably similar to the banana republics the IMF intervened with during his tenure.

      1. GRP

        Yes, the US is still a market economy despite corporate welfare and minimum wage laws and yes, it will not end well.

        Yes, there was a brief period when the interests of big business and the general US population coincided and it benefitted the big businesses to enrich the US middle class, by sharing the profits, because that enriched them even further. However, all that changed when other politically stable but low income countries with large sized middle class opened themselves for US/Western capital. It was no longer necessary for big businesses to enrich the US/Western middle class, since for a fraction of that cost they could enrich the middle class in these newly opened economies and hence get even richer.

        They have always looked out for themselves. Any benefit to the US/Western middle class was a coincidence and, as proved by time, temporary.

        By the way, I do not advocate a market economy. I am only saying those who do and complain about stats like the one in this article haven’t thought their position through.

        1. psychohistorian

          So when are folks other than me going to write that it is the inheritance laws that need to be changed in this forum?

          I don’t read many other commenters texting thus and don’t understand why as it seems very obvious as a Gordian knot sort of solution.

          1. GRP

            Unless Cayman Islands and the like also adhere to the same inheritance laws, it won’t help. However, capital controls will go a long way in ensuring that the interests of the holders of capital get realigned with the general population.

    2. Dan Kervick

      Right. But this won’t stop mainstream economists from spending two years developing new models to explain the “mystery” of the productivity-wage gap.

      If our contemporary pack of professional economists were transported back to 1950, they would all begin exercising their brains to explain why, despite impressive productivity increases in the cotton industry, slaves were not to be seen riding around in expensive new carriages and fancy livery.

      1. Massinissa

        I believe you mean 1850?

        I dont recall seeing many carriages in those silly 1950s tv shows. Or many slaves for that matter, at least not with metal chains, though I suppose the african americans of those days were only slightly more free than their forebears a century earlier.

    3. OldFatGuy

      In a market economy, there is no correlation between price (cost of labor, i.e. wages) and it’s return value (higher productivity)????

      Really???

      One wonders what kind of “market” economy has no correlation between price and value.

      Quite a statement you made there.

      1. GRP

        In a market economy the prices (of labour as well as products/services) are set by demand and supply, not by the cost of production/delivery for the supplier. That is so by definition.

        1. OldFatGuy

          In a market economy, underlying value/cost affects supply and demand. In a “normal” market economy, perceived value has a direct affect on demand, as the more value something has, all things else being equal, the more “demand” for it, i.e. willing to pay higher prices.

          If you look at the chart, there is almost perfect correlation between wages and productivity for three decades and then there is almost zero correlation between them for three decades. Are you suggesting that the American economy prior to the mid 1970′s was not a market economy?

          That’s a hard argument to make since it’s demonstrably provable that there is now more government regulation and intervention than there was in the 1940′s and 1950′s.

          So what changed??? The overall nature of the economy changed from not a market one to a market one? You’re going to have to provide more than just a say so to convince me of that.

          IMO what changed was POLITICS, not ECONOMICS.

          YMMV, but to say there is no correlation between price and utility/value of something in a market economy stretches the bounds of what I believe is reality.

          1. GRP

            I should have said “In a market economy wages have no necessary correlation to employee productivity either individually or collectively.”

            All kinds of correlations can exist that are not necessary.

            The US was certainly a market economy even prior to the 1970s. The correlation between productivity and wages existed because the US workers were the only consumers available for US capital production. There was an alignment of the interests of the US capital and US workers. When politically stable low income economies in the world opened themselves for US/Western capital, the alignment was broken. The alignment can be restored, but only with capital controls. It will automatically be restored if and when the cost of labour has no significant difference across national boundaries.

    4. washunate

      Ironically, in many key areas, from healthcare to housing to higher education to finance to media to the drug war and the national security state, what would be radical would be to try market-based economics.

  3. middle seaman

    We approach rather rapidly a new feudal age. In a few decades, the US society as we know it could be watched only in museums, videos and history books.

    Poor dilapidated neighborhoods will fill the landscape. Schools will resemble third world resources, restaurants will disappear and be replaced by few carry outs, etc. The whole US will be Detroit.

    There will be no money to subsidize the rich. The biggest source of income for the rich, government transfer of tax money to the few will also dwindle.

    Once the rich will suffer the pinch, may be then things will change.

    1. Banger

      Since, at present, I see no counter movement, some form of neo-feudal regime is in our future. But it may not be so bad. We still have an opportunity to create virtual “free cities” within the feudal structure that may, in fact, increase our scope of action and ability to live as we like but, and here’s the problem, it will require cooperation and the promotion of altruistic values that go beyond the current dominant values of self-interest and, to be more precise, narcissism.

      Future politics will move away from our current left/right spectrum (which is at this point bogus) and more towards those that want to live in an authoritarian and fear-based society and those who want to open up to our greater potential. The ideal is to have multiple possibilities open to us.

    2. Walter Map

      Ich kann nicht so viel fressen, als ich kotzen moechte.

      In a few decades, the US society as we know it could be watched only in museums, videos and history books.

      Well, no. History will be rewritten to deny that the middle class ever existed. Claims that it did once exist will be dismissed as mythology and prosecuted as subversion. Workers will be indoctrinated to Know Their Place and to accept their poverty as necessary, normal, and fair.

      Nearly all of human history is characterised by the domination of an impoverished and dispossessed general population by a small, wealthy, and powerful ruling class. So far as TPTB are concerned, the recent emergence of a large and prosperous middle class is an aberration of history and a distortion in the Natural Order of Things. The ruling class is now correcting this aberration as efficiently as is practical, and any cultural memory of it will continue to be erased to prevent the masses from ever again attempting to improve their lot.

      The general population will be reduced to serfdom, and then, just to make sure, reduced again to the status of livestock. George Will, Rush Limbaugh, and religious charlatans will extol the benevolence, generosity, and virtue of the ruling class and praise the reintroduction of slavery. Labor unions will be demonized if they are remembered at all. Workers will be encouraged to believe they will be rewarded in Heaven for their obedience, industry, and self-sacrifice.

      TPTB know perfectly well that current human economic activity is unsustainable and is damaging the biosphere, and also know that the only way to make it sustainable and to conserve planetary resources, in a manner which serves their interests, is to cull the herds. The present glut of nonproducing livestock is a wasteful drag on their wealth accumulation, as well as a social and ecological threat to their long-term security and opulence.

      It’s not as any if this is really a secret to anyone who has studied the history of these issues and has examined current social and economic trends. Most U.S. presidents from Adams to Eisenhower have repeatedly issued warnings, publicly, officially, and in writing. Carrol Quigley provided a detailed explanation over fifty years ago.

      All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.

      - Wealth of Nations

      The time of the most contemptible man is coming, the man who can no longer despise himself.

      - Thus Spake Zarathustra.

  4. middle seaman

    We approach rather rapidly a new feudal age. In a few decades, the US society as we know it could be watched only in museums, videos and history books.

    Poor dilapidated neighborhoods will fill the landscape. Schools will resemble third world resources, restaurants will disappear and be replaced by few carry outs, etc. The whole US will be Detroit.

    There will be no money to subsidize the rich. The biggest source of income for the rich, government transfer of tax money to the few will also dwindle.

    Once the rich will suffer the pinch, may be then things will change.

  5. John F. Opie

    Great point made. Where did the productivity go?

    Corporate profits, of course: it’s really the only other place it can appear.

    I still find it interesting, to put it mildly, that the mainstream economists who are in charge consistently fail to understand that your economy isn’t going to return to pre-recession growth rates when incomes don’t return to pre-recession growth rates. In the greater scheme of things (i.e. the NIPA accounts), you have GDP measured by what it is used for (what 95% of everyone thinks when they talk about GDP), then where it comes from (supply side) and the most neglected of the accounts, the income side.

    They’re all just different ways of looking at the same economy. Ignoring poor wage growth and then wondering why the economy isn’t growing shows that someone really hasn’t understood what the NIPA accounts are all about (National Income and Production Accounts is what NIPA stands for, it’s the bookkeeping framework for calculating GDP).

    David’s chart really is what explains the state of the US economy today.

  6. armchair

    It isn’t hard to imagine Monty Burns looking at the flat wages with increased productivity and cooing over how well its going. It isn’t hard to imagine for the Heritage Foundation to look at the same chart and proclaim that this chart means wages must stay flat to keep productivity gains.

    One thing that always comes up in these discussions is how cheap and available technology has become. Some conservative think-tanker points out that low income people have high def televisions and free music downloads. I believe there is a good counter-argument, but has it been boiled down to shorthand? It is obvious that technology has become much cheaper relative to the minimum wage, but what about food, rent, energy, transportation and sundries? Also, are data plans and cable bills really that cheap? It seems that the technology hardware is cheaper, but to make it do anything you have to pay plenty every month.

    Anyway, there must be a short pithy way to shut down the jerks who complain about people at the housing authority having cell phones.

    1. Banger

      Gadgets and sophisticated toys only serve to distract the populace not enhance life. It is more expensive to live today than four decades ago when the trend started to go south. Financial insecurity is more prevalent now and will only get worse if current trends continue. Hopefully this will spur us to live more cooperatively which will be a boon to all of us.

  7. John A

    Even though my business runs fairly lean as it is, I would like to pay some of my 27 employees more but my customers will not accept higher prices. I’m now feeling pressure to lower my prices, in fact. I don’t feel like the archetypal “evil crony-capitalist,” though.

    1. Robert Dudek

      This is what is known as a collective action problem… it would be better for society and therefore for you in the long run if workers’ wages rose. But if you do it unilaterally you won’t reach the long-term.

      An outside solution is therefore needed. In this case, a much higher statutory minimum wage and a job guarantee program would be a huge step in the right direction.

    2. Massinissa

      Youre clearly a small business.

      How you could be a crony capitalist without being able to purchase washington politicians is beyond me. Clearly that term does not apply.

      I, as a socialist, personally would not classify you in the Bourgeoisie. Perhaps the petite bourgeoisie at best. Regardless of whatever you would be classified as, clearly you are not the source of societies problems.

      If a few silly liberals denigrate you, pay them no mind.

  8. athena1

    Wingers like to make a big deal about how “after Obama” (aka, after the recession hit) there was a spike in people filing for disability, usually for arthritis, and how it’s not plausible that we had a sudden epidemic of arthritis, yadayadyada…

    So, I offer an anecdote. At my mom’s job, post-recession, there were 2 waves of layoffs. She survived wave, where the oldest and slowest were culled from the work-force, and she was given more work for the same pay. (Efficiency!) She did not survive the second wave, (she’s in her early 60′s, and does indeed have arthritis, and is a bit slower than those who are younger.) (Moar Efficiency!)

    My brother is encouraging her to apply for disability.

    Anyway, I don’t doubt that even in 2008 there were enough workplaces left to where a good workforce culling or two could squeeze out some more “efficiency.”

    1. Cujo359

      Wingers like to make a big deal about how “after Obama” (aka, after the recession hit) there was a spike in people filing for disability, usually for arthritis, and how it’s not plausible that we had a sudden epidemic of arthritis, yadayadyada…

      I wonder if any of those geniuses managed to infer that part of the reason for this uptick could be increased wear and tear on the workers thanks to all of that “efficiency”.

  9. TomDority

    GDP – does not equal – standard of living
    The three legs of production, Labor, Resources (LAND) and Capital (tools-paint brushes, machinery etc)
    A fourth leg – As Simon Patten, the first economics professor at the nation’s first business school (the Wharton School) explained, public infrastructure investment is a “fourth factor of production.” It takes its return not in the form of profits, but in the degree to which it lowers the economy’s cost of doing business and living. Public investment does not need to generate profits or pay high salaries, bonuses and stock options, or operate via offshore banking centers.

    “Laborers knowing that science and invention have increased enormously the power of labor, cannot understand why they do not receive more of the increased product, and accuse capital of withholding it. The employer, finding it increasingly difficult to make both ends meet, accuses labor of shirking. Thus suspicion is aroused, distrust follows, and soon both are angry and struggling for mastery.
    It is not the man who gives employment to labor that does harm. The mischief comes from the man who does not give employment. Every factory, every store, every building, every bit of wealth in any shape requires labor in its creation. The more wealth created the more labor employed, the higher wages and lower prices.
    But while some men employ labor and produce wealth, others speculate in lands and resources required for production, and without employing labor or producing wealth they secure a large part of the wealth others produce. What they get without producing, labor and capital produce without getting. That is why labor and capital quarrel. But the quarrel should not be between labor and capital, but between the non-producing speculator on the one hand and labor and capital on the other.
    Co-operation between employer and employee will lead to more friendly relations and a better understanding, and will hasten the day when they will see that their interests are mutual. As long as they stand apart and permit the non-producing, non-employing exploiter to make each think the other is his enemy, the speculator will prey upon both.
    Co-operating friends, when they fully realize the source of their troubles will find at hand a simple and effective cure: The removal of taxes from industry, and the taxing of privilege and monopoly. Remove the heavy burdens of government from those who employ labor and produce wealth, and lay them upon those who enrich themselves without employing labor or producing wealth.”
    Tax Facts – 1920′s

    1. nonclassical

      ..Tom said;

      “A fourth leg – As Simon Patten, the first economics professor at the nation’s first business school (the Wharton School) explained, public infrastructure investment is a “fourth factor of production.” It takes its return not in the form of profits, but in the degree to which it lowers the economy’s cost of doing business and living.”

      ..which is reason Europe includes healthCARE (rather than U.S. style, healthPROFIT) in their “public infrastructure”-your “4th leg” of production..

  10. washunate

    Another great post David. It’s all about wages.

    We have plenty of wealth. The public policy question is how to distribute it.

    With perhaps the fun armchair quarterback question being trying to predict whether the unsustainable nature of things will render the Democratic Party destroyed or reclaimed.

  11. clarence swinney

    Cokie Roberts on TV yesterday–”President Obama believes in Big government.”.
    Reagan increased spending by 80%–Bush II by 90% and Obama by 11.5% in first term.

  12. F. Beard

    It’s all about wages. washunate

    Not quite as is easily demonstrated reductio ad absurdum by considering a future where robots do all or almost all of the work.

    1. nonclassical

      “Future Combat System”…New York Times and others forecast (robotic warfare)
      to be totally up and running by 2016…recently delayed by perhaps 5 years…

      ..apparently there are “manned” (remotely controlled) robotic defenses along border between S.Korea-N.Korea…

      when deployed, creating an entirely new “way” of thinking about military power-deployment…

      1. TomDority

        Well of course tech advancement will automate warfare. These companies that produce these products of war (should I use the term: military industrial complex) are doing what a company does in this Free Market…. increase shareholder value.
        Our Domestic Private Military complex is, without question, pushing for the Wall of America against Mexico (another wonder of the world) to experiment and develop advanced anti-human systems while politically stoking the flames to increase the revenue stream. Of course, this all has to be done in a civilized fashion… it’s why we have terms like kinetic warfare instead of, shredding human beings to hamburger with high speed metal, or consider, A war on terrorism… first time we have had a conflict on a method of war rather than on the reason for it.

    2. washunate

      That’s a great test of one’s views on political economy.

      If we could supply our needs with a 10 hour work week, would that be a Good Thing, or a Bad Thing?

  13. Cujo359

    FWIW, I cited a similar chart of theirs back in January. And yes, as Robert Reich, the EPI, and more than a few other economists have been saying, this chart really shows how things have changed in America since the 1970s. It’s so obvious that people who aren’t economists, like me, have figured this out and gotten that thought down on (electronic) paper. It remains to be seen how long it will be before Americans generally have.

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