Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How the Lack of Wage Pressure is Keeping us Down.

Why do I feel so edge, I ask myself on a regular basis.  My children ask me why I am mad all the time.  I ask myself if there is some hidden secret that is making me mad.  The reality is that a lot of things are making me mad.  I have to accept that it is OK to be stressed.  I am not a freak of nature.  I am angry, stressed, tired and frankly disenchanted. 

I used to look at the life we had here in the mid-west and see advantages and the beautiful of simplicity.  The average person and average family could get ahead. They could have a quality of life, a nice home, some money in the bank and even the occasional vacation.   Sure, stuff happened now and again but most people could weather the average storm. 

Now it is different.  With almost 50 years with no upward wage pressure and continued increased in cost of living the average family is not longer in a sweet spot.  There is no average families left.  I am not saying there are no families that are doing well and don't really feel a change, as those exist.  I am also not saying there are no families in desperate need.  The reality is there are more folks that are just getting by or are digging themselves further and further into debt then ever before.

One of the main reasons for this is the lack of upward wage pressure.  When the recession happened folks were freaked out but knew that, like all market trends, it would even out eventually.  The problem is that this is not a market trend or a recession. This is the evolution of capitalism as we know it.  This is the norm. This is abuse of the very factor of production, labor.

When I first moved to Columbia I was able to get an entry level job at the University making $11 an hour.  I had a university degree from a prestigious school and a couple years of business experience.  At the time this made me crazy.  I was disgusted as I had made more money slicing deli meat in a unionize grocery store in my youth.  Yet I accepted it as the way things were.  Now 22 years later, the same job would be going for the same $11 a hour here and someone would be happy to get it.   So there has been no wage pressure at all.  According to the CPI inflation calculator that wage should have gone up to $17.95 an hour.  The worker has no power to change this because desperation makes it impossible for them to do anything but take that $11 job and be happy they can at least keep up on their minimum payments. 

I am not OK with this.  I see the effect it has on the people around me.  Make American Great Again my ass.  American is not great, has not been great and will not be great until the worker has respect and the family unit can have a decent quality of life without desperation and need.  Giving money to the rich and powerful will not accomplish this goal. 

Expecting the average person to take on yet another part time job that does not provide benefits is not the answer.  People are not lazy they are angry.  They do not perceive fairness and opportunity. They do not know how to get beyond this wall. They are not ready to take on challenges or opportunities. They are not happy.

Here is a great example, the adjunct professor.  In my town, an adjunct professor will get paid $2,150 to $3,500 to teach a class, depending on which school they work for.   The average, non-research business faculty teaches 4 classes a semester for two semesters a year. According to the Chronicles of Higher Education that faculty member should be making $57,000 as an instructor and $87,000 as an assistant professor, plus benefits.  The per course rate should be between $7,125 and $10,875 per class.  Yet the adjunct professor that teaches 8 classes a year will make between $ $17,200 and $28,000 with no benefits or pension.  So the school saves tens of thousands of dollars by moving their full time positions to less expensive adjunct positions.  This leaves the highly educated adjunct professor below the poverty line. 

This example is not unusual.  This example is life.  It is corporations cutting costs and making due with less. It looks like smart business to the business leaders. It has not heart and no soul. It is not personal it is business. IT IS STILL WRONG!

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