Two kinds of people have been getting richer. The top executives who sit on each other’s boards of directors and vote each other a higher and higher share of private sector pay, to the detriment of investors, consumers, and other workers. And retired and soon-to-retire public employees in places like New York City, who cut deals with the politicians they control to retroactively increase their already comparatively rich pensions, to the detriment of public service recipients and taxpayers. There is the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs.
The serfs continue to become worse off, adjusted for whatever point we are in the economic cycle. In fact the economic cycle is part of what the executive/financial class and the political/union class use to put the serfs further down. At the peak of a boom, they sign irrevocable deals to give themselves more because there is “plenty of money” and no one needs to be made worse off to pay for it. But then a recession hits, and the serfs end up with higher taxes, diminished services and public benefits, and diminished pay and benefits funded by their employer, due to “circumstances beyond our control.” Those cutting the deals never give anything back, since they have “a contract” that others, who received nothing in exchange, have to make good on. Among the worst off victims – those in later-born generations, since those in older, earlier-born generations generally “grandfather” themselves from all related sacrifices as well.
Bureau of Economic Analysis Local Area Personal Income data was recently released for 2019, almost certainly the peak of the economic cycle that started from the bottom in 2010. And it shows that here in Downstate New York, we have reached a milestone. The average (mean) earnings (cash plus employer benefits) those working in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors (including both employees and the self-employed) was $122,813 that year. The rest of the private sector averaged $81,575. The mean earnings for state and local government workers Downstate, meanwhile, was $124,095. That is not only 52.1% higher than the mean for the rest of the private sector, including all the one-percenters outside finance, a record high difference. But also – for the first time – more than the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors. So that is what was meant by “fairness” around here!Continue reading