|Before you let anyone tell you that President Obama's policies are bankrupting the country and that corporations and "small businesses" simply cannot afford to pay more consider this. Their profits are soaring:
U.S. corporations' after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan's administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy.
Yes, under Obama Corporate profits are higher than under the only god besides Mammon the Republicans worship. Ronald Reagan.
And the curious fact of the matter is this. The very folks who will be arguing that they cannot pay you more have been making out like bandits the last thirty years. They certainly have not taken a cut in pay even as they have driven some of their companies into the ground. In fact they have caused us to replace the term American dream with Pakistani and Ivory Coaster dream. Nowadays you might as well be working in Ancient Rome:
In 1978, CEOs took home 26.5 times more than the average worker. They now make roughly 206 times more than workers, EPI found. The pay isn't always tied to the performance of their businesses - as ThinkProgress has noted, CEOs at companies like Bank of America often pocket huge pay increases even as the company's stock price plummets and jobs are cut.
As a result, American income inequality has skyrocketed, growing worse than it is in countries like Pakistan and Ivory Coast. Wealth inequality is worse than it was even in Ancient Rome. And, as pay skyrockets and tax rates fall for the richest Americans, the rising inequality has left the bottom 95 percent of Americans saddled with more debt than ever before.
Why? Because your wages are stagnated even as you work harder:
n 1979 the American worker's average hourly wage was equal to $15.91 (adjusted for inflation in 2001 dollars). By 1989 it had reached only $16.63/hour. That's a gain of only 7 cents a year for the entire Reagan decade.
But wait. Things get worse! By 1995 it had risen to only $16.71, or virtually no gain whatsoever over the 6 years between 1989 and 1995. During the great 'boom years' between 1995 and 2000 it rose briefly to $18.33 per hour. In other words, from 1979 to 2000, even before the most recent Bush recession, after more than two decades the American worker's average wages increased on average only 11.5 cents per hour per year! With nearly all of that coming in the five so-called 'boom' years of 1995-2000, and most of that lost once again in the last three years. And that includes for all workers, even those with college degrees.
The picture is worse for workers who had no college degree. That's more than 100 million workers, or 72.1% of the workforce. For them there was no 'boom of 1995-2000' whatsoever. Their average real hourly wages were less at the end of 2000 than they were in 1979! And since 2000 their wages have continued to slide further.
With 1992 as base year, productivity was at 82.2 in 1979. It grew to 94.2 by 1989 and 116.6 by the year 2000. In the past year, moreover, it has exploded, putting it over 120. That's a nearly 40% increase since Ronald Reagan took office nearly 25 years ago!
The 100 million American workers without college degrees, whose real take home pay today is less than it was 25 years ago, certainly can't be said to have shared in that 40% productivity gain. And the other 20 million or so with college degrees whose pay rose modestly at best certainly shared in very little of that nearly 40% productivity gain.
So before you let the greediest and least patriotic among us tell you that they cannot afford to pay you more consider this. Their profits and salaries are through the roof as they work you harder and pay you less.