Real Wages Haven't Grown for a Decade
It has been a bad 10 years for the economy. As I’ve written before, the last decade was, economically, a lost decade. As this graph from Ezra Klein shows, there has been essentially no job growth for ten years, net household worth actually fell, and the economy as a whole grew less than 18%—compared to 35% or more for every other decade since the Great Depression. In fact, in many ways, the last 10 years has been as bad as the Great Depression. That's why Paul Krugman called the decade "the Big Zero.”
The latest economic news has not been good. The most recent employment report found that the economy added just 54,000 non-farm jobs in May and that the unemployment rate is back up over 9%. As Robert Reich says, that puts us at real risk for a double-dip recession, even as politicians in Washington focus on cutting government spending. Catherine Rampell’s updated job chart shows just how bad the jobs situation has been, with the economy down more than 5% from peak employment more than 3 years into the recession.
Now the Commerce Department reports that real wage growth over the last ten years has been worse than any period for which we have data—including the Great Depression. Private sector wages grew just 4.2% over the last 10 years, compared to 5% from 1929 to 1939. Real wage growth has been more than 25% for every other period except the period ending with the recession in 1982. Even in that period real wages grew 16%—four times as fast as they grew over the last ten years.
The unprecedented stagnation in wages probably has a lot to do with the continually high unemployment rate, which gives employers the leverage to pay workers less. At the same time, as manufacturing has become increasingly automated, higher wage jobs have disappeared, while most new jobs have been in the lower paying service sector. And while the underlying “core” inflation rate has remained low, rising food and fuel prices have pushed real wages even further down. So if you feel like you have had a hard time getting by, you’re certainly not alone.
Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
A new paradigm for machine vision has just been demonstrated.
- Scientists have invented a way for a sheet of glass to perform neural computing.
- The glass uses light patterns to identify images without a computer or power.
- It's image recognition at the speed of light.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
"A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain," Musk said, referring to tests of the device.
- Neuralink seeks to build a brain-machine interface that would connect human brains with computers.
- No tests have been performed in humans, but the company hopes to obtain FDA approval and begin human trials in 2020.
- Musk said the technology essentially provides humans the option of "merging with AI."