|Courtesy of MaddowBlog.|
Since 1980, when Reagan took office and began his "Reganomics" trickle-down economic plan, beginning with a 50% reduction in upper-class tax rates, from 70% to 35%, this has been how things have played out in our country.
Productivity is up 80% in 30 years. American workers are 80% more productive than they were in 1980.
Middle Class Wages have risen about 10% since 1980, adjusted for inflation.
Wages for the Top 1% have increased over 240% since 1980, adjusted for inflation.
Looking at this graph, the only thing that has stayed stagnant over the last 30 years is middle class income. Productivity is up - meaning the average worker is working harder and getting more done with his time every year - and the wages for the wealthy elite are definitely up, by 240%, or over 24 times the growth rate of middle class incomes. Middle class wages though, they've gone up by only about 10% in 30 years.
Think about that. Let's do some math...
If middle class wages rose at the same rate as income for the wealthiest 1%, the average middle class income would be $1.2 million dollars a year. Bet you'd like to get that for your 9 to 5 job, eh? Bust your ass all day long to make your measly $100,000 a month. I bet you'd be happy as hell to hear your alarm go off at 6am for that!
Or, let's just ignore the pipe dream world where the middle class sees a fair and equal wage increase compared to the "job creators," and just let middle class wages rise with productivity. That seems fair, right? The better your productivity, the more your pay increases to match it? Well, if that was the case, the average middle class income would be right about $400,000 a year today. Would that be fair to you? $400,000 a year for what you're making $50,000 a year to do now? Think that would be enough to ensure you had no complaints about gas prices, food prices, taxes or what welfare recipients were doing with their $800 a month in EBT benefits? I'd like to see the illegal immigrants take THAT job from you! Am I right, racists? Err... I mean... Tea Party Patriots?
But nope, you don't get to be that lucky. The middle class has seen a 10% increase in wages in 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, that means you get 10% more now for your work than you would have in 1980. Assuming of course that you work in a field that saw an overall increase in wages and benefits over the last 30 years. This ignores jobs like processing, packing, assembly, and other production jobs for non-union businesses, where relative wages and benefits have actually declined significantly since the 1960's. I'm talking about the secretaries, teachers, bus drivers, middle-managers, etc. You're making 10% more for your time today than you would have in 1980.
That seems fair, right? Working for 30 years and getting a 10% raise? You'd be totally cool with that at any job, wouldn't you?
See, even though your pay might have increased by more than 10% in the last 30 years, it's value as a reflection of purchasing power, inflation and rising costs hasn't. So, while you might have started your job 10 years ago making $30,000 a year and today you're making $50,000 a year, the amount of stuff you can buy for $50,000 is only slightly more than what $30,000 got you 10 years ago. A 10% increase over 30 years means that you are only able to buy 0.33% more each year than the year before, or about 3 cents more for every dollar you make.
So, that means, if inflation never existed, and cost of living adjustments were never made, and prices never went up, your average income would have gone from $20,000 a year in 1980 to $22,000 a year in 2011.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!??
But, let's be fair to those poor "job creators" too... If inflation never existed, cost of living adjustments were never made and prices never went up, the average income for the wealthy elite in this country would have gone from $100,000 a year in 1980 to $2,400,000 a year in 2011...
How's that trickle-down economic model working out for you now, middle class conservatives? Still think tax cuts for the rich are going to get your job back? Still think giving tax breaks to mega corporations is going to keep your wages competitive? Hell, do you still think your wages would go up if we built that border fence you keep crying about? Remember, these wages have stayed stagnant since well before illegal immigration was a hot-button political issue that conservatives blamed for everything that's going wrong with our economy, so even when Jose wasn't coming over here with his inability to speak, read or write English and somehow still out-negotiating you with your boss so he could "take" your jobs away, wages were only increasing by 1/3 of 1% a year.
Just look at that chart. The numbers don't lie. In the first year of Reagan's 50% tax cut for the upper class, wages for the wealthiest 1% rose by more than middle class wages have risen in the last 30 years. Let me say that again so it sinks in - UNDER REAGAN'S TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS PLAN, WAGES FOR THE UPPER CLASS ROSE MORE IN ONE YEAR THAN MIDDLE CLASS WAGES HAVE RISEN IN THIRTY YEARS.
When politicians talk about the need to give tax cuts to "job creators," this is what they're talking about. They're talking about continuing the progress on this chart. They're talking about ensuring that upper class wages continue to rise at a rate that out-paces middle class incomes by 2400% They're talking about making sure you keep earning 3 more cents in buying power for every dollar you make each year, while the wealthiest 1% continue to earn 240 more dollars in buying power for every dollar they make. So that they can buy 240 times more next year than they could this year, but you can only buy 1/3 of 1% more than you could this year.
PLEASE, middle-class conservatives, PLEASE DEFEND THIS! PLEASE tell me how this is a GOOD thing for you! I would LOVE to hear a hard-working, middle-class American explain to me how seeing 1/3 of 1% in adjusted wage increase per year is fair, given the fact that your productivity goes up by almost 10% a year. You're getting nearly 10% more done each year at your job than the year before and only getting 1/3 of 1% of an overall pay increase for it. PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THAT IS OK WITH YOU! Please explain to me how, after 30 years of this, you still think that more tax cuts for the richest people in the country are going to improve YOUR quality of life. Please tell me how stagnant wages make your life better. Please tell me how not even getting a pay increase that matches your productivity is fair? I mean, you aren't even getting paid more as a direct reflection of the work you're doing, you aren't even getting paid a fraction of a percent more as a reflection of the work you're doing.
Even the most dyed-in-the-wool conservatives have to agree with the statement that a man should get an honest wage for an honest day's work, no? That seems perfectly reasonable and very conservative, individual responsibility and all that. You work an honest day's work, you get an honest day's pay. I don't think you can get more fiscally conservative Republican middle class blue collar Joe the Plumber than that, can you? If you agree that you should get a fair wage based on an honest day's work, then you believe your pay should have increased by 80% over the last 30 years to reflect the 80% increase in average productivity of the American worker. I mean, that is EXACTLY the definition of "An honest day's pay for an honest day's work." That is giving you exactly as much more in money as you generate in increased productivity. That's about as fair as fair can be, do you not agree?
Well, that means, if you're making $50,000 a year at your job today, you should be making $400,000 a year instead. It also means the reason you aren't making $400,000 a year right now is because you supported "Fiscally Conservative" Republicans who gave more and more tax cuts, tax credits, subsidies and corporate welfare to the wealthiest Americans, which meant there wasn't any money left to pay you a fair wage based on the work you got done. If you believe in fair pay for the work done, then I wish that you would explain to me why you support a party and a policy that believes in exactly the opposite. I mean, if you think Democrats are bad with all their welfare for the poor, how can you stomach the Republican welfare for the rich? The amount of money those "Liberal Democrats" want to give "lazy welfare moms" is, in total, less than the amount of taxes the top 10 companies in America avoided paying thanks to Republicans.
I wish a hard-working, middle-class conservative American could explain to me how any of this is fair, right or at all in their best interests. I wish a hard-working, middle-class conservative American could explain to me how continuing these policies by giving even more tax cuts to the wealthy elite and corporations is going to somehow result in a different outcome than the last 30 years of upper class tax coddling and corporate welfare has given us.
Look at that chart. The numbers don't lie. Please explain to me how that is ok with you if you aren't one of the people on that red line at the top. Please explain to me how you're going to be ok with your kids growing up, most likely earning that blue line down at the bottom. Just explain to me how, and when, all of this funneling money to the wealthiest 1% is going to result in this magical wave of job creation and middle class salvation. It's been 30 years, how much longer will it take?
Get back to me on that, conservatives, I would love to know how you justify supporting these policies and these politicians. I want to understand why you think this is ok, because it really doesn't seem ok at all to me.