workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

Happy Days Are Here Again, but for who?

Friday’s New York Times bears the ominous headline, “Fed Officials Worry Economy Is Too Good. Workers Still Feel Left Behind.” (4/27/18, B2)

Federal Reserve officials are beginning to worry about a possibility that seems remote to workers…. the danger of the economy’s running too hot, destabilizing financial markets and setting off a rapid escalation in wages…

“Destabilizing financial markets” is presumably the concern, as this “rapid escalation in wages” is nowhere to be seen. Wages have been rising very slightly of late, but only those at the very top and very bottom of the wage spread are seeing gains. Most of us are still losing ground, even before rising health care costs and other lost benefits are taken into account.

As a result the government is looking to push up interest rates, in order to make sure our wages don’t get too high. (You don’t seem them taking action around the multi-million paychecks the corporate fat cats are pulling in, but of course there aren’t any working stiffs on the Federal Reserve board.)

Deep in the story, the Times notes than 62 percent of respondents say prices are rising faster than their wages. But apparently we’re not losing ground fast enough, and so policymakers are on a crusade to hold wages down, working hours up, and the death rate rising (in order to hold down the cost of pensions and Social Security).

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