There was consternation on CNBC yesterday after the Employment Situation report showed a drop in wages. I find this hilarious because CNBC is the media flagship of neoliberalism, America’s national ideology, and the beating heart of neoliberalism is low wages.
The primary goal of our economic policy is to beat down wages via the mass off-shoring of jobs, and the mass immigration of cheap labor. Not to mention flat-out criminal corporate wage-theft (keep reading). Yes, this is an evil policy, but it is a successful one. Very successful, as evidenced by the massive increase in corporate profits. Devouring the middle class might be the most-profitable economic policy ever.
The talking heads on CNBC should have been celebrating. Instead, they are baffled that their ideology isn’t producing a land of rainbows, lollipops, and puppy dogs. What a bunch of brainwashed buffoons.
To illustrate, imagine a planter growing cotton on a thousand acres. Then he bribes the government to run-off the Native Americans living next door, buys the land, and doubles the size of his plantation. Now he needs more workers, so he goes to the market and purchases a hundred more slaves. That night, he drinks a toast to himself: “I am a great jobs creator!” But wages have not improved; they were $0.00 per hour before, and are still $0.00 now.
What is happening in the USA isn’t too much different. Recently, one of our fabulous jobs-creators in Silicon Valley did something similar. They flew in eight workers from India, made them work 120 hours per week, and paid them only $1.21 per hour. Now, let me point out something that might not have occurred to you: $1.21 per hour is lot closer to $0.00 per hour (slavery) than it is to the California minimum wage of $9 per hour.
That is a microcosm of what is happening in the USA. America’s once mighty middle-class workforce has, to a great extent, been either eliminated by off-shoring, or replaced by a massive foreign scab workforce tens-of-millions strong.
And what can Janet Yellen do about that? Absolutely nothing. The best she can do is keep rates low, and pray, but low rates cannot even put a dent in neoliberalism. Ultimately, it’s not her job, and she has no power to stop the forces driving wages lower.
If you are a neoliberal baffled by the lack of wage growth, may I suggest a psychiatrist skilled in cult deprogramming?
Further reading: Here is the story that I mentioned above: “Bay Area Tech Company Caught Paying Imported Workers $1.21 per Hour.” Management’s excuse was they thought that they could pay India’s minimum wage; that somehow U.S. and California laws do not apply to immigrant workers. Do they also think that they could go to Sudan and purchase slaves, and keep them slaves in California? Maybe they do. Maybe management’s homes should be searched. Interesting fact: back in the 1990’s, I worked for a software company in Silicon Valley that had offices in the same building as the company in the story, Electronics for Imaging. What if Janet Yellen parachuted into EFI’s offices? What could she do? Not a damn thing.
Funny: Mohamed El-Erian calls it the “wage puzzle.” Story here.