The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages

To Wall Street and its backers, the solution to any price inflation is to reduce wages and public social spending. The orthodox way to do this is to push the economy into recession in order to reduce hiring. Rising unemployment will oblige labor to compete for jobs that pay less and less as the economy slows.

This class-war doctrine is the prime directive of neoliberal economics. It is the tunnel vision of corporate managers and the One Percent. The Federal Reserve and IMF are its most prestigious lobbyists. Along with Janet Yellen at the Treasury, public discussion of today’s inflation is framed in a way that avoids blaming the 8.2 percent rise in consumer prices on the Biden Administration’s New Cold War sanctions on Russian oil, gas and agriculture, or on oil companies and other sectors using these sanctions as an excuse to charge monopoly prices as if America has not continued to buy Russian diesel oil, as if fracking has picked up and corn is not being turned into biofuel. There has been no disruption in supply. We are simply dealing with monopoly rent by the oil companies using the anti-Russian sanctions as an excuse that an oil shortage will soon develop for the United States and indeed for the entire world economy.

Covid’s shutdown of the U.S. and foreign economies and foreign trade also is not acknowledged as disrupting supply lines and raising shipping costs and hence import prices. The

— source | Michael Hudson | Jun 19, 2022

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In a Single Year, $1.78 Trillion Was Stolen From the Working Class

The fate of the Build Back Better Act is currently unknown. The bill would be the largest social spending achievement in decades and provide needed services and support to millions of families—with more than half of the proposed $1.75 trillion in spending going to child care, preschool, affordable housing, higher education and healthcare.

But this proposed spending, over 10 years, is barely noticeable compared with the wages workers have lost over the past 40 years. In terms of productivity, wages should be significantly higher than they are, and the average worker continues to be shortchanged thousands of dollars annually. And much of the money workers should be getting is instead being pumped up to the top 0.3% of income earners.

How Much Money Have Workers Lost?

The following chart from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), an independent think tank, shows the growing gap between productivity and worker pay since 1979, during which

— source | Colleen Boyle, Eric Dirnbach | Jan 31, 2022

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Google illegally underpaid thousands of workers across dozens of countries

Google has been illegally underpaying thousands of temporary workers in dozens of countries and delayed correcting the pay rates for more than two years as it attempted to cover up the problem, the Guardian can reveal. Google executives have been aware since at least May 2019 that the company was failing to comply with local laws in the UK, Europe and Asia that mandate temporary workers be paid equal rates to full-time employees performing similar work, internal Google documents and emails reviewed by the Guardian show. Google maintains a workforce of more than 100,000 temps, vendors and contractors who are not directly employed by the company.

— source | 10 Sep 2021

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LA garment workers toil for top brands and earn paltry rate

Thousands of garment workers in Los Angeles who make pants, shirts, blouses and other clothing for a variety of well-known fashion labels are paid less than minimum wage through a piece-rate payment system that compensates workers just a few cents per article of clothing. Works say they typically work from 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and an additional five hours on Saturday – about 60 hours a week with no overtime pay, which results in overall wages at $5 an hour or less, far below California’s statewide minimum wage of $14 an hour for companies with more than 26 employees. One factory – operated by Los Angeles Apparel – was ordered to shut down in July last year after a Covid-19 outbreak among workers resulted in more than 300 positive cases and the deaths of four workers. More than 80% of garment workers in Los Angeles have experienced wage theft. Fashion brands including Forever 21, Fashion Nova, Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, Los Angeles Apparel and several others have been linked to these factories in their supply chains.

— source | 17 Aug 2021

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US workers asking for $15 right now

My name is Sylcoria Carrroll. I’m a member of McDonald’s and a member of the NC Fight for 15. I’ve been in this organization for six years. I’m doing this because my kids need me. I’m pregnant with a baby on the way. It’s the third baby, and I already have two kids. I can’t take this no more. There was times when I didn’t have a break. I came in on my day off. And then my own manager didn’t tell me how much I’m getting paid an hour. The highest check I ever got was literally $291. I can’t take it no more. I’m halfway homeless. I need this $15 an hour, not only for me, but for everybody.

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Wages for the top 0.1% grew more than twice as fast, up a spectacular 345.2%

Newly available wage data tell a familiar story: In every period since 1979, wages for the bottom 90% were continuously redistributed upward to the top 10% and frequently to the very highest 1.0% and 0.1%. This unceasing growth of wage inequality that undercuts wage growth for the bottom 90% reaffirms the need to place generating robust wage growth for the vast majority and worker power at the center of economic policymaking.

For last year, 2019, the data show a continuation of the trend of annual wages rising fastest for those in the top 10% while those in the bottom 90% saw below-average wage growth. However, within the top 10%, wages rose faster for those in the 90th–99th percentiles than for those in the top 1%.

A similar pattern as in 2019 prevailed over the entire 2007–2019 business cycle as wages were redistributed in two ways, up from the bottom 90% to the top 10% and within the top 10% downward from the top 1% to those in the 90th–99th percentiles. Still, the top 1% has done far better in the 2009–2019 recovery (wages rose 20.4%) than did those in the bottom 90% (wages rose only 8.7%).

the top 1% and the very tippy top, those in the top 0.1%, were the clear winners over the longer-term 1979–2019 period:

The top 1.0% saw their wages grow by 160.3%; and
wages for the top 0.1% grew more than twice as fast, up a spectacular 345.2%.
In contrast, those in the bottom 90% had annual wages grow by 26.0% from 1979 to 2019.

— source Economic Policy Institute, | Lawrence Mishel, Jori Kandra | Dec 1, 2020

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Nearly Rs 5,000 Crore NREGA Wage Payments Rejected in Past 5 Years

Workers have to face devastating hurdles to access their meagre wages for the work provided under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), pointed out a report published by LibTech India, a group of social scientists, activists, engineers, and data scientists, has been working on various aspects of NREGA across several states.

Delays in wage payments are one of the most pressing issues faced by workers. Various governments have paid much attention in the last decade on the technological aspects of the digital payments architecture through the paradigm of Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT), through which state governments directly transfer money to the bank accounts of the workers.

However, even after this money reaches the bank or postal accounts of the workers, they have to face a large number of challenges to access this money which is rightfully theirs, said the report.

— source | 19 Nov 2020

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NREGA Workers Have To Walk Miles, Spend Hours To Access Wages

A large percentage of workers who get employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) face huge problems in accessing their payments. Not only do they often have to travel large distances and wait many hours to get their wages, a report has revealed.

Prepared by LibTech India, a group of social scientists, activists, engineers and data scientists who have been working on various aspects of NREGA, the report – titled ‘Length of the Last Mile: Delays and Hurdles in NREGA Wage Payments’ – was prepared on the basis of a survey of 1,947 workers in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

It has revealed that often, workers spend more than a third of their weekly NREGA wages in just withdrawing them. It has also revealed that almost half of the workers (45%) had to visit banks multiple times to make a withdrawal.

Took many workers up to four hours to access wages

— source | 19/Nov/2020

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