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May 21, 2004

Wages Lag, Bush Approval Drops

To the chagrin of some Bush boosters, recent GDP and job numbers aren't boosting approval of Bush's handling of the economy. In fact, it's been dropping with a recent poll showing 60% of the population disapproving of his economic management.

Which might be explained by the fact that anemic job growth is matched by stagnant wages for everyone else. Check the wage analysis factoids:

  • Adjusted for inflation, average hourly wages for non-farm workers, excluding managers and executives, rose 25 cents, to $15.35, between 2001 and 2003. That equates to an annual increase of less than 2 percent, or below the rate of inflation.
  • Labor's share of the increase in national income since November 2001, the end of the last recession, is the lowest for any recovery since the end of World War II.
  • The kicker of all this is that corporate America is doing phenomenally well:
  • From the start of 2002 to the end of 2003, national income grew about $804 billion, or 8.7 percent. For the first time, corporate profits received a larger share of the growth than labor did.

  • Corporate profits, however, were able to experience explosive growth as a consequence of the very large gap between the growth rates of labor productivity and worker earnings.

  • The median cash compensation for chief executives was up over 7 percent, and that's not including stock options and other long-term incentives, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
  • So note this, not only were the rich getting their taxes cut, but the total income they were earning was expanding rapidly.

    But the GOP still thinks the wealthy need new tax cuts.

    Maybe they shouldn't be surprised that the rest of the population thinks they deserve a raise as well-- and see Bush as not delivering the goods for anyone other than his rich buddies.

    Posted by Nathan at May 21, 2004 08:46 AM