What happened to labor standards?

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Economic trends today show a shift of $2 trillion a year from the paychecks of the middle class to the bank accounts of corporations — almost 100 pay no taxes, and the super rich of the 1 percent that eat our lunch. FDR noted some 80 years ago that “the best customer of American industry is the well-paid worker!” The era of shared wealth for workers began in 1938, which started high wages and sadly ended in or about 1973, as worker’s salaries started a long nose dive, and with Daniel Bell, calling for the Post Industrial Society, as revenues for corporations and the rich began again to rise.

In the past four decades, the 1 percent and corporations have seen taxes lowered, and profits rise. Since 1973, workers have almost for the last 4 decades lost compensation and their pay raises dwindled, while corporations and the upper classes have captured after tax profits from about 5 percent to about 10 percent, of GDP, while workers have lost the same amount in After-Tax adjustments, while it once averaged 4.2 percent. The share of income of our 1 percenters has more than doubled from its 9 percent perch, in 1973 to its current 22 percent today.

The economic landscape for small business has also change, as with the Amazons and Walmarts, we are at a 40-year low for new start-ups, which represent small business. Even old chains like Sears, Pennys, and Macys in retail are fighting for their lives. A single Walmart in a county forces down countywide by as much as 0.9 percent and 1.5 countywide for retail wages. I have seen Walmart with its new grocery stores in states like Florida, closing long revered chains, and with their retail and grocery they saturate chains like Winn Dixie, a southern chain of long usage in the South, and Publix!

Employers in many cases do not pay what you're worth; they pay what you can negotiate — my lie here, as monopoly power is weakening the ability to bargain. We need change.

Bill Weightman


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