Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day? How About Labor Week?!?

In an article in CBS News Dick Meyer says Labor Day Ought To Be A Week (At Least)

(He starts here.)Have you ever thought about how miserly Labor Day is? I mean, we grind our tails off all year and the Gods of Holidays bestow upon us one lonely day of reward and respite. One day. Then on Tuesday morning, get the kids to school, commute for a couple hours, commit labor, make dinner, keep it up for a year and don't complain. Thanks, but they can take this holiday and shove it. Labor Day 2006 calls for extra crankiness. This is an especially lousy time to be labor as opposed to mogul. I'm sorry to have to interrupt a perfectly good rant with factoids and statistics, but, alas, that's my job. Put starkly, wages and income inequality are at Depression-era levels. Wages and salaries as a share of the gross domestic product are at the lowest point since the Department of Commerce starting keeping track of such things in 1947. From the 1950s through the mid-1970s, wages as a slice of GDP were safely above 50 percent. The percentage then dropped until the mid-1990s when it crept back up through 2000. Now the number is at the record low; take home pay now makes up just 45.3 percent of GDP. Hourly wages have fallen 2 percent since 2003, adjusting for inflation. In that same period, worker productivity has increased. Corporate profits — the fruits of labor and productivity — have also swelled. Which brings us to inequality.

(You can read what he says in between by clicking on the title of his post.)

(And ends here.)The economic behavior of baby boomers (5 percent controlling 52 percent of the financial assets, record-high levels of top corporate pay, record levels of income inequality) radically belies the kinder, gentler PC rhetoric and Starbucks aesthetic we insist on with such phoniness. Eventually, I think, we will be shown to be the Greediest Generation.

But for all that, we get Labor Day. Give me a week and maybe we can talk.

Now what's your thought on Mr. Meyer's article. I think he is pretty close to having it right that we are probably a very greedy generation.

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