More Fluff, No Stuff - Joint Economic Committee Meeting

When is our Congress going to kick those lobbyists to the curb and do the right thing? Don't hold your breath! The Joint Economic Committee held a hearing on July 23, entitled, How Much More Can American Families Be Squeezed By Stagnant Wages, Skyrocketing Household Costs, And Falling Home Prices?


Now from the title, one might wonder if the question is poised to Wall Street wondering just how much money is left to pilfer from the pockets of the middle class. Still, there is always good information and rhetoric in these hearings.


One is Dr, Jared Bernstein, EPI, testifying before the committee. The graphs below, extrapolated from his written statement, are damning. Now productivity growth is one of the questionable statistics because they are counting offshore outsourcing in the calculation, yet the graph implies Americans are working themselves to death for negative money.

productivty vs. income


Next up, Bernstein shows real wages are falling for every occupational area in the United States. Not the wages plus benefits bar (white). To explain the graph:

The first bar is the average hourly wage of the 80% of the workforce in blue-collar or non-managerial jobs, the second bar is this group’s weekly paycheck, and the third bar is a measure of average compensation—wages plus benefits—for all workers. As of late 2007, all three series are falling in real terms


wages fall


Bernstein's next figure shows in the last two recessions, middle and low incomes continued on their downward slide after the economic downturn was over and the overall economy had returned to growth.


real income no recovery after recession


Can you say squeeze? (and no it's not because some idiot moved your cheese!)

Dr. Elizabeth Warrenalso testified an independently confirmed EPI's analysis. I don't see any dramatic policy recommendations or bills coming up (yes, Congress went on another vacation) and assuredly Sen. Schumer doesn't walk the walk on legislation that is sorely needed to put US workers 1st in this global labor arbitrage game, but certainly there are some good facts and figures from this hearing.


Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Warren's testimony and hard work is the key elements I wanted to point out, versus any sort of oh, isn't this awful, let's recess from our Congress.


You can download the video of entire hearing from the link to the JEC