Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words. The facts are these: From 1948 until 1973, American workers' earnings grew with productivity. Workers made more goods and provided more services per hour, and they earned more along with that. From 1973 to 2011, though, productivity rose by 80.4 percent and median hourly compensation rose by just 10.7 percent. Bluntly:
"A bigger share of what businesses in the U.S. are producing is going to the owners of the firms and the people who lent money to the firm, and a smaller share is going to workers," said Gary Burtless, senior fellow in economic studies at The Brookings Institution.Also, don't forget we're talking about median earnings here, and during these same years, income inequality skyrocketed. You simply don't get results like these without an organized, sustained attack on workers—exactly what we've seen since 1973.