Monday, January 17, 2011
MLK got his people on the up escalator just in time for it to start going down for everybody
Today, after the "big" Democratic increase of a couple of years ago, the buying power of the federal minimum wage is $3/hr below what it was in 1968! -- double the average income later. The median wage has only grown 20% since 1968 while average income doubled -- from $12.50/hr (adjusted) to all of $15/hr for the middle wage American.
Didn't happen in Europe where they have something called "social democracy" -- A.K.A., "socialism" in this economically ignorant badland. The economic components of social democracy -- MANDATORY SECTOR-WIDE LABOR AGREEMENTS, free health and education -- were instituted by very anti-communist, very conservative, very Roman Catholic German politicians (think Conrad Adenauer) after WWII to MODERATE labor demands so Germany's just post fascist industrialists could invest more in rebuilding.
The same sector-wide agreements that prevent the race to the top for labor turn out to prevent the RACE TO THE BOTTOM (the American way) for labor -- why Wal-Mart recently closed 88 big boxes in Germany; because it could not compete paying the SAME wages and benefits as honest competitors.
Sector-wide labor agreements are the proven formula to restored economic AND political power for the majority -- practiced over most of the better paying first-world and even in the second and third-worlds (Argentina and Indonesia). Rebalancing America's labor market is the ticket to solving 90% of our other social problems. MLK would understand that today.