Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Abigail McKnight and Richard Reeves write about the gilded floor that prevents the wealthy from facing the realities lived by most people. Eric Levitz discusses how the Trump economy is producing plenty for the ultra-rich, but little but mediocrity for everybody else. And Michelle Styczynski points out that there's no apparent connection between the stock market and wage levels:
This leads us to ask: Are these two variables even correlated? When the S&P increases, does the real wage also increase? Correspondingly, when the S&P decreases, does the real wage decrease? From 1950 to 1975, they were largely positively correlated. But after 1975, the correlation tended to be more negative than positive. Meaning, when the S&P increases the real wage tends to decrease, and when the S&P decreases the real wage tends to increase. After 1975, on average, while one was moving up the other was moving down.

Political leaders seem to believe that what’s good for the stock market is good for the larger economy. But the data show that since the 1980s, when the stock market rises, wages barely move. Today, hourly wage earners – who constitute nearly 60 percent of the workforce – are only making slightly more on average than they did forty years ago. In fact, if the federal minimum wage kept pace with the average hourly wage and average productivity since the late 1960s, it would be over $18 per hour today.

Yet, political and business leaders still proceed as if the stock market is key to measuring the success of the economy. Perhaps the stock market tells us about the prospects of capital owners, but it certainly doesn’t tell us much about the average worker.
- Meanwhile, Citizens for Public Justice offers its proposals for the federal budget to help citizens, not merely productivity statistics. And Thomas Walkom argues that we should expect far more than mere tweaks to NAFTA's unlevel playing field between corporations and people.

- Rebecca Leber reports on what climate scientists found when they took up Exxon's invitation to compare its past research to its public denialism. And Katharine Hayhoe offers the perspective of one of the scientists whose work was made subordinate to the PR campaign to keep pushing dirty energy. 

- Finally, Jerry Dias comments on how the Cons and other right-wing parties created and nurtured the bigoted media monsters they're now trying to disavow. And Chuck Schumer discusses the connection between racism and the right's constant attacks on access to the polls.

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