Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The U.S. Government Does NOT Respect American Workers

Some may think my headline is not true. After all, didn't we just celebrate a national holiday that honors the American worker? But the fact is that one day designated as a holiday doesn't show respect, if the other 364 days in the year has our government enacting policies that hurt American workers -- and that is exactly what has happened since about 1980.

That was the year the Republicans gained enough power to enact their terrible "trickle-down" economic policy. That policy stated that giving more to the rich and the corporations would benefit all Americans, since those people would share their new wealth with workers. It was a silly idea, and it didn't work. The rich and the corporations did very well, but nothing trickled down.

The top chart emphasizes that. Note that while productivity continued to rise, almost all of it was gobbled up by the richest Americans. The top 1% saw their incomes rise over 240% between 1980 and 2009, while the bottom 99% barely saw any gains at all. And that is still happening. The rich are still receiving about 95% of rising productivity, while the rest of America are left to share about 5%.

That's not respect for workers. That's government policy designed to make the rich even richer at the expense of American workers. And it gets worse. Every other government in the developed world requires employers to give workers time off each week, provide workers with a paid annual leave, and provide for paid maternity leave. The U.S. government doesn't require employers to do any of that (see bottom chart above).

To be fair, it not the entire government that doesn't want to guarantee those benefits for American workers. Most Democrats believe providing those benefits is only fair, and they have tried to institute them. But their efforts have been blocked by the Republicans in our federal government. The Republicans have chosen to side with the rich and corporations, and their policies show no respect for workers. In fact, those policies have hurt workers. The stagnant worker wages actually represent a drop in the buying power of workers after inflation is figured in.

We need more protections and benefits for workers in the United States -- but that is not going to happen as long as the Republican control any part of the government.

NOTE -- The charts above were found at Mother Jones.

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