All we seem to hear lately is how the bottom rung of the employment ladder is stuck at dreadfully low conditions. Part of that of course is the low minimum wage level. Historically, mainly due to GOP gridlock, it has not been increased nearly enough to keep up with the times.
But it is nice to see that significant gains have taken place in recent years.
The 2015 Census data on income and poverty is out — and for the first time since the Great Recession, it’s unambiguously great news.
Median household income was up 5.2 percent compared to 2014 — the largest one-year gain since 1967 at least. Income gains were strong up and down the income ladder, with the biggest percentage gains coming from the bottom income brackets. Poverty fell by 1.3 percentage points….
Second, this huge gain in median income is actually the first statistically significant increase since the recession struck — and despite its size, did not recover the lost ground since 2007. Median household income is still down 4.6 percent from 2007, and 5.2 percent from the all-time 2000 peak.
While this report is good news, we still haven’t recovered from the meltdown that was caused by poor regulation during the Bush administration and the way the GOP still stalling budgeting enough to fully carry out Dodd-Frank there will likely be another meltdown in the not too distant future.
I am going to make a “47%” comment here that might not be acceptable to some but I kind of think that many “trapped” in low wages are there because of their unwillingness to take personal responsibility for their circumstances. The unemployment rate is now at historically low levels. The median income is rising but still there are those who are not benefitting from these statistics.
Yes, the employment opportunities are different than they were when I joined the job market some fifty years ago. For whatever reasons we have allowed large corporations to shed their pension plans, kill labor unions, and even the idea of a full-time employment. I worked for thirty years at the same company while it is said that those entering the job market today will change jobs seven times during their working lives.
When a business is making something that is no longer in demand they often recover by retooling for a more modern version. It seems that is what job seekers need to do also. Retool by doing what is necessary to get skills that are in demand. One of the hindrances to doing that is the high cost of education right now. In order to get a good job you need a good education. In order to get a good education you need a lot of money. Kind of a catch-22.
That is where government should step in. There is no reason why schooling has to be as expensive as it is today anymore than why healthcare needs to be so expensive. Many European, and especially Scandinavian countries, provide free education and healthcare for all it’s citizens. That seems like a no-brainer to me but stubbornly we in the U.S. refuse to follow their example.