The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Who is the Economy Great For?

Dec 9, 2019

If you listen to the experts, the U.S. economy is booming. The official unemployment rate is way down. The economy is in its longest expansion ever. The stock market is up. According to the New York Times, November’s jobs report shows that “the American economy is capable of cranking at a higher level than conventional wisdom held as recently as a few years ago.”

If you’re one of those stockholders taking the wealth produced by this economy’s workers, it might be great. But for the workers, it’s another story.

Even as the economy has expanded, wages have barely gone up, if at all, especially for low-wage workers. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institute, 44% of U.S. workers now have “low wage” jobs paying median wages of $10.22 an hour. These workers average $18,000 a year.

The low-wage workforce is not just the young—more than 75% of them are over age 25.

Workers are perfectly aware that their jobs don’t pay enough, of course. According to a CBS poll in October, 6 in 10 workers report that their job is “mediocre to bad.”

The experts are right that the U.S. economy has produced a lot of wealth. But if workers are going to see enough of it to live, and not just survive, we’re going to have to take it from the parasites who have hoarded it all.