The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Workers’ Wages Must Rise with Inflation!

Jun 6, 2022

Biden is shouting about how wonderful the economy is now. But there are still 800,000 fewer jobs out there than before the pandemic over two years ago. And the measure of how much of the U.S. population is actually employed (the labor participation rate) stands at just 62.3%, only one-tenth of one percent higher than last month, and still lower than before the pandemic.

In fact, this is also well below the rate of employment that existed before the 2008 recession which stood at 66.2% of the working population. The U.S. economy has not recovered the 2008 recession, nor the pandemic recession.

Biden’s U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that the economy had added 390,000 jobs in May, and that the unemployment rate stayed at 3.6% for the third month in a row. This has been touted as a sign that the economy is roaring, that it is growing at an “exceptionally strong pace,” and that we are in a “tight labor market.” What BS!

But it benefits those Democrats in government, starting with Biden, to treat this as full employment. What they are really telling us is to accept our situation, that this is the best we can get.

Nothing is proposed to confront inflation, the highest in 40 years. We are supposed to “trust” the “labor market” to raise our wages to match the rise in prices. The idea being that if the employers are competing for workers, they will raise wages to attract them.

Really? Already, economists are saying that wages have topped out! Leave it to the employers to voluntarily raise wages and benefits to attract workers? What a crock! In what world?!

They expect us to ignore the fact that inflation is up 8.3% over the past year. On average, workers have experienced a wage CUT of 3.1% due to runaway inflation. And it gets worse with every new price rise.

They think we’re stupid! They think we can’t add!

Do they think we don’t know that we’re losing every time we go to the supermarket, or every time we fill our tanks at the gas station? Do they think we’ll be satisfied with good economic news in the media?

The corporations are making record profits. THEY are not hurting, in this inflationary economy. THEY are making money—off of us, while our wages effectively fall, even as the talking heads tell us that our wages are rising.

They expect workers to accept this level of wage rise as the absolute most we can get. They expect workers to pay the price for this rise in prices.

There is no reason why workers should accept being robbed through price hikes on top of being ripped off on the job every day.

ALL workers’ wages should be raised AT LEAST by the inflation rate IMMEDIATELY: We should ALL get an 8.3% raise right now. At a minimum.

And then, going forward, workers’ wages should be pegged to the prices—meaning, as the prices rise, so do workers’ wages. Immediately.

Workers can fight for this. Workers have fought for something like it before—Cost of Living Allowance, or COLA. We can demand it, and we can force our employers to accept it.

All workers are experiencing the same problems. We can all be united behind the same demand: an immediate, across the board wage increase, and the pegging of wages to prices.