Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sam Pizzigati: "Too Much Online, 02 May 2011"

In Detroit, a news report related last week, wage cuts have dropped the entry-level clerical worker pay to $17,000 a year. Back in 1970, city clerks started at $7,000, a sum that translates, after inflation adjusting, to over $39,000 today.

Detroit city workers, in effect, have had their real incomes cut in half. And Detroit’s mayor, on top of this cut, now wants these workers to pick up another 20 percent of what their health care premiums are costing the city.

Stories like this have become almost commonplace. The obvious question: How low can our once middle class incomes go? Or is the question that really matters the reverse: How high can we go? How much wealth and power — to distort our politics — will we allow our rich to amass before we finally say enough?

How much higher, for instance, will we let health insurer CEO pay go? Last year, four top insurer CEOs saw their take-home over double. We are clearly trodding in a bizarre and dangerous new epoch. Ronald Reagan’s former budget director has a new label for it. This week, in Too Much, we contemplate his suggestion. Read more Too Much Online.

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