Its on the news, in the papers and on the net. The American economic struggles have been well documented here recently. The effects of this recession range from slight inconvenience to people in the medical and education sectors to near devastation for individuals working in the manufacturing and other manual labor sectors. In this article I will discuss how I feel that issues clearly impacting American labor wages on the lower end of the spectrum are creating a trickle-down effect that is bringing down the entire economy.
We will start off with a dramatically increasing wage gap between the richest and poorest Americans. I will start with just a quick fact to throw out there for you to ponder. In 2005 the top 10% of Americans accounted for nearly 50% of the income. Using those same figures the top 300,000 Americans made nearly as much as the bottom 150 million workers. I will help you out with the math that means the average American in the top 300,000 mentioned above earns 440 times that of the average lower class labor worker. The wage gap between the richest Americans and the poorest Americans doubled from 1980 to 2005.
What are the reasons for such an increasing gap in the economy? There are several factors that directly impact those numbers. One big difference is globalization as in recent years there has been a growing number of illegal aliens coming into the country as well as jobs being outsourced to larger more populated countries such as India. The lower to lower middle class worker has seen jobs decrease as illegal immigrants and foreign workers in general work for cheap labor wages. The biggest factor has probably been advancements in technology which have created a smaller demand for low-skilled American labor workers in the economy. Many of your factories now use advanced technology meaning they require fewer labor workers but also require workers skilled to work on the machines if they malfunction. The amount of American manufacturing jobs in the economy have greatly decreased over the years and for that very reason.
Some of you reading this article may be wondering why should I care? It is my belief that such issues have played a huge part in our struggling economy. Those bottom 150 million workers struggling to pay their bills and have nothing left over to spend is whats killing the economy. Its the nearly 30 million Americans that work full-time and still make less than the poverty rate and require government assistance that are killing the economy. The average American in recent years has seen labor wages increase slower than the rate of inflation. The bottom line is that you should care unless you are already wealthy enough to retire because in the end this problem with the American economy is gonna effect everyone.
Now to the question I have been asking myself and the one that likely has caused Barack Obama lost sleep since taking office and that is what can be done to repair this situation? I have several ideas and some of them are already being acted upon by the American government. My first proposal is to increase the federal minimum wage. They have done this recently but it needs to increase even more to where minimum wage at least gets you close to making above the poverty rate. My second proposal is to crack down on illegal aliens and companies that employ such workers for cheap labor. My third proposal is to impose additional taxes on companies that outsource to other countries for the benefit of cheap labor. My final proposal for this economy and one that is already being done and causing fuss is to increase the taxes for the richest Americans. Obviously if your one of those rich Americans that idea isn’t all that great in your eyes. However the majority of those people are rich due to the lower and middle class worker buying their products and working for their companies. In these hard economic times I think its only fair that those people with money than they will ever need give something back to the average American.
Source(s) – http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v9n3/income.html , http://www.workplacefairness.org/sc/incomegap.php , http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/business/29tax.html?ei=5124&en=fb472f1e466a50c8&ex=1332820800&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink&pagewanted=print