Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It’s market up (yawn), wages down (ugh). Workers want change.

As the stock market approaches a seemingly unattainable peak--the NASDAQ’s all-time high of 5,048 reached during the insane bubble of early 2000--conservative Ben Domenech, in Commentary, seeks to get to the bottom of the simultaneous wage stagnation problem America currently faces:
nonwage compensation as a share of total compensation effectively doubled from 1969 to 2011. In fact, . . . it actually tracks closely with productivity measures over the past 65 years. . . James Sherk, of the Heritage Foundation [found that adding in] noncash benefits [means that], “While hourly cash wages measured by the payroll survey have fallen 7% since 1973, total compensation. . . has risen 30%.”
Domenech’s explanation for why non-wage benefits don’t really help employees:
Legislators and regulators have imposed mandates requiring . . . non-cash benefits [that] have significantly raised the cost of . . . full-time employee[s, while] the growth of regulations at all levels (local, state, federal) forces businesses to spend dollars that might [have otherwise gone] into employee pockets. . . For decades, Americans have experienced the rising [hidden] cost of goods primarily in highly regulated, government-incentivized areas of the economy—health care in particular.
Domenech cites polls showing little voter interest in the government redistribution schemes Democrats offer. Workers would rather have higher wages:
after six-plus years of being promised the Life of Julia—in which government will be there for you, cradle to grave, even if your pay stub disappoints—voters appear to care more about their own bottom line than the promised security of free stuff[. People,] given the chance to choose, [want] a job where they can earn more money for themselves and their families to spend or save or waste as they wish.

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