News Release

Behind the “Economic Miracle”

JOEL BLAU
Author of the just-released Illusions of Prosperity: America’s Working Families in an Age of Economic Insecurity, Blau said: “Below the rosy surface of economic exuberance lurk low-paying jobs, job insecurity, corporate downsizing and massive inequality. The average worker’s pay (in real terms) actually declined 8 percent from 1973 to 1997. CEO compensation has skyrocketed so much that if other salaries had kept pace, the typical factory worker would now be earning $90,000 a year and the income from a minimum wage job would yield $39,000 annually.”

HELENE JORGENSEN
Senior policy fellow at the 2030 Center, Jorgensen said: “People are working more and more hours, more and more jobs — and more family members are working. Young workers entering the labor market now are getting paid substantially less than their parents. A high school graduate today makes 28 percent less than a young man with a high school degree did in 1973. Even with people with a college degree, you still see a decline of 8 percent in their starting salaries. Very few manufacturing jobs with benefits remain; rather, we see service sector jobs that are typically low paying. There has been growth in non-standard jobs, like temp agency workers who are paid less than people with a regular job and don’t have health insurance.”

JANE D’ARISTA
Director of programs at the Financial Markets Center, D’Arista said: “This is a prosperity that is based on intolerable levels of debt by households, businesses, and state and local governments. Further, it’s debt that is being fueled not by savings — because net personal savings have fallen virtually to zero — but by inflows of foreign savings. It’s a very vulnerable situation and one that should not be considered sustainable for very long.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167