Is Low-Wage Work America’s Destiny?

It would seem so.  America leads the list of OECD nations in low-wage jobs:

Schmitt writes: “Not only are low-wage workers likely to stay in low-wage jobs from one year to the next, they are also more likely than workers in higher-wage jobs to fall into unemployment or to leave the labor force altogether. … U.S. labor law offers workers remarkably few protections. U.S. workers, for example, have the lowest level of employment security in the OECD and no legal right to paid vacations, paid sick days, or paid parental leave. … [M]ore than half (54 percent) of workers in the bottom wage quintile did not have employer-provided health insurance and more than one-third (37 percent) had no health insurance of any kind, private or public.”

Interestingly, this correlates relatively well with collective bargaining (R2 = 0.317).  The more access to collective bargaining, the fewer the low-wage jobs.


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2 thoughts on “Is Low-Wage Work America’s Destiny?

  1. I’m reminded of two things:

    1. An American equivalent for the words “Selling England by the Pound” by the then prog-rock group Genesis.

    2. The Scriptural references to the crimes of a generation having repercussions affecting third and even fourth generations to follow. (“sins of the father”)

    “Selling England by the Pound” predated the Reagan-era commercial real estate boom and bust, corporate raiders and the transfer of wealth out of the USA by over a decade. But if things had been different, these words would have made the ideal anglonym to summarize the evils of Republicans ever since then!

    Few cared enough at the time to remember that Reagan, Bush, Gramm Rudman et al. who first conspired to make a business out of systematically dismantling and selling off the infrastructure and industries that made America the great and prosperous land that it was at its apogee. But even my youthful mind understood that what took centuries to construct cannot be rebuilt as quickly as it’s torn down. It’s a self-destruct mechanism, plain and simple.

    Few cared enough at the time that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld Powell et al. lied to the American people so they could play war with real lives how much it would cost, and how long it would take to pay for it. But from the start some experts were projecting a debt that would reach well into the tens of trillions of dollars, mostly in the form of “juice”–interest paid during the long period of time that the US economy is unable to generate enough actual new wealth to pay off the capital. Few Americans understand that Gulf War II isn’t being paid off at all, or that we’re still paying interest rates based on when our economy was still healthy.

    The bottom line is that the self-destruct sequence is ticking right along, taking away the good jobs and all hope of getting back any good jobs for us and the three, four, maybe more generations to come into the workforce. The only good news here is that we’ll be long dead by the time that our kids’ and grandkids’ sharply declining lifestyles translate into murderous rage against us. I hope so anyway.

  2. Well Duh! When you go to a third world country like South Africa and pay a VAT of 40% to take a piece of gold jewelry out of the country, where does the great American precept of “Fair Trade” become fair to Americans. Any standard has to be protected. When Nixon “opened up” China to great acclaim by American journalism, who did we think was going to pay the cost in our culture?

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