Archive for Social Issues

Help Me I’m Poor: New Report Shows That Americans Are Overworked And Underpaid

Every American worker

Do you have a nagging feeling that you’d be earning nearly double the amount of your current salary if the economy was better?  Well wage slave, there’s some good news and bad news!  The good news is that it isn’t all in your head.  A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that the American economy is going through a period of wage stagnation.  The bad news is that their numbers were taken from 2002 to 2012, so wages were awful well before the economic crash of 2008.

Between 2002 and 2012 wages were either stagnant or declined for the entire bottom 70% of the wage distribution.  Wages may have been at their worst in the past 10 years, but these numbers come after a few decades of poor wage growth.  Essentially the American wage has been in decline since 1979.  Workers saw a brief period of growth thanks to internet boom in the 90s, but even then those who experienced a wage increase were in very specialized fields.

The average worker has seen a meager 5% wage increase from 1979 to 2012, despite the fact that worker productivity on average has been skyrocketing.  Essentially all of your after work whiskey rants are true, you ARE working way too hard for much less pay than you deserve.

Get used to it America

The news gets even worse.  Wages aren’t the only thing that has decreased, workers benefits like healthcare and paid time off have dropped off along with earnings.  The college wage premium (the wage held by workers with college degrees over workers without degrees) has grown much more slowly over the past decade in comparison to 20 years ago.  If that didn’t make you depressed, you should also know that corporate profits are at an all-time high in this country.

This may be shocking to you, but this isn’t news to the average economist.  People know that there’s a problem, but have no idea how to fix it.  Some workers have tried striking, but walk outs and protests won’t be able to fix the problem.  Despite the fact that many Americans think corporations could stand to pay their employees more, they’re also rabidly opposed to making it happen since they’re worried that the “job creators” will leave towns and states if they’re forced to pay their employees a living wage.    Washington D.C.’s infamous living wage bill was passed by a vote, but it seems like Mayor Vincent Gray is stalling on signing the controversial bill into law.

Currently we’re at an impasse, we know that there’s a problem but the public and the people in power can’t agree on what to do.  If you’re affected by low wages, your best bet is to take on a 2nd job and forgo eating, clothing yourself, and taking care of your children.

They’ll be fine

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Baby Not on Board: PEW Study Reveals That US Birthrates Are at an All Time Low

Kids/20-Something bloggers can be so cruel

Times are tough.  People are looking for jobs, families are having to cut back, and now it looks like we’re so broke that we can’t even reproduce.  Everybody knows of the infamous baby boom that took place during the years after WWII.  Our country had just earned its “superpower” title and our economy was experiencing unheard of levels and growth.  It’s only natural that after spending time abroad kicking Nazi ass our men came home ready to start a family and get started on the whole American dream thing.

Right now we’re kind of experiencing the opposite of that.  Our economy has experienced some growth, but overall many Americans are still struggling to find jobs that pay a decent wage.  There’s also the issue of the newest generation of Americans who are deeply in debt and unable to find work because of the poor job market.  On top of being involved in long, bloody, and complicated military conflicts that lack Nazis, people aren’t really itching to have kids right now.

According to the Pew Research Center US birth rates were at a record low in 2011, the lowest we’ve seen since 1920 (just before the age of jazz, illegal booze, and dames and macs fleecing each other).  The country’s birthrate fell 8% overall from 2007 to 2010.  For US born women the rate dropped 6%, and for foreign born women it dropped by 14%.

A drop in birth rates isn’t the only problem Pew detected.  The same report that contained the information on birth rates also stressed the vulnerability of Medicare and Social Security.  Those two crucial social welfare programs are funded by payroll taxes from working adults, and with less jobs available there’s less money going into the programs.

All of these factors form a recipe for a potential economic disaster.  As more baby boomers reach retirement age, the younger generation will be forced to try to pick up the economic slack.  It’s estimated that by 2035 the ratio of workers and retirees will be 2:1 with 186 million workers paying for 91 million retirees.  People are counting on an increase of jobs that pay livable wages, but if we look at current trends that doesn’t look very likely.  It’s time to toss out your birth control and focus on some baby making people!  If you really cared about the future of this country, you would be participating in risky copulation.

 

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Your Sexist Views Hurt the Economy: Why Working Moms Could Save Japan’s Economy

The next time you hear somebody claim that working mothers hurt society, tell them about Japan’s “devil moms” (and then immediately stop talking to that person, they are probably crazy and insecure about their own abilities to work/not be stuck in the 19th century).

America isn’t the only country that has a bone to pick with mothers who choose to work.  When Japanese women entered the work force the women who were married were called devil moms.  Society believed that a woman’s place was at home taking care of her husband, and if you were a married working mom the judgments and scrutiny was even worse.  They claimed that these women were not only hurting Japanese society, but that they were also ruining their economy by taking jobs away from men.

The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshikino Noda doesn’t see these women as devil moms, he sees them as the key to economic recovery.  In 2010 66.5% of women aged 25 to 44 were employed, and Noda hopes to get that number up to 73% by 2020.  Despite the relatively high number of working women, almost 70% of them quit their jobs after having children because of societal pressures, poor maternity benefits, and severely inflexible jobs.  Those grim statistics are why Noda is pushing for companies to give their female employees the benefits they deserve for their good work and growing family.  Maternity leave could be longer, jobs can be more flexible, and if change this big happens the way society views working wives could change as well.

If there were as many female workers as there are male workers, the Japanese workforce would increase by 8.2 million people.  The next time somebody tells you that working women hurt society, tell them that their archaic views are hurting society and the economy.

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