Thursday, August 31, 2006

 

More Work at Low Pay Increases Household Income

The Census Bureau released a report Tuesday with a positive spin, noting that income in most US households rose for the first time since 1999. Other data in the report shows that the rise in income results from taking on part-time jobs, not real increases in hourly wages.

"A rising tide lifts all boats," lost all meaning some time ago. Of course, the economy is not an ocean tide, an information system, a price structure nor anything other than a socially constructed system of agreements on the production and distribution of the material goods of life. All such systems evolve to increase the benefit of the rule makers to the detriment of everyone else; which evolution seems to be accelerating in our country over the last few years.

We can take little comfort from the increase in real income detailed by the Census Bureau report. Instead, the brazen attempt to put lipstick on this pig fills me with revulsion. Bad enough that the children of the poor often live in environments hostile to healthy families; now we see the parents of poor children forced to take on second jobs just to survive.

Coupled with the large increase in the uninsured population, the total picture is one of increasing social inequality.

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