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December 09, 2005


Roy Skog

A comment about real wages growing. The only real wages that are growing is Congress with there automatic wage increase each year. My employer cut my wages by 19% this last November. Each year my health insurance has cost me more as I have to pick up larger portions of the premiums and deductibles.

Dick Lepre

I did not say that real wages were growing. I said that "nominal" wages were growing. "Real" wages takes account for inflation and real wages are, more or less, flat for the past 4 years. Your situation is an "ouch." Folks in certain industries (airlines most notably) have seen horrifying pay cuts.


The problem with "average" or "median" figures is that they tend to lump things together.

It is clear that certain segments of the population have seen their standard-of-living stagnate or decline over the past two decades, while others have seen growth. Those whose wealth is tied to financial instruments have been big winners.

What is needed is a way to discuss these different sectors separately. Not only are the experiences different, but the type of policies needed to support the losers are vastly different from those that benefit the winners.

It is the unwillingness to address the issue of wealth distribution by any political party which makes so much of the proposed remedies seem so pointless.

Dick Lepre

I think that the statements which you make are always true. There are segments which do well and segments which do poorly. We always treat segments separately while looking at the big macroeconomic picture. Saying that the economy is "good" overall does not in any way imply that we should do less to help those who are suffering. The fact that there is a record number of folks who own their own homes does not mean that we should pay any less attention to homelessness.
I have no idea what you mean by "wealth distribution." We have a progressive income tax on a national level but it would be more accurate to refer to that as "income distribution."

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