Archive for August, 2013


Special mention

Martin Rowson cartoon 31.08.2013 136793_600


We know that, as class differences have been rising, Americans have become increasingly segregated by class within cities.

Now, it seems, we’re going to see class segregation within residential buildings [ht: sm],  with separate doors for rich and poor residents.

A luxury high-rise apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side is set to have a so-called “poor door” — a separate entrance for low-income residents receiving subsidized housing.

The 33-story building — 40 Riverside Boulevard – being developed by Extell Development Company will have 219 condominiums selling for more than $1 million each.

But by including 55 affordable housing units on the first few floors renting at a starting price of $845 a month, the developer could get a tax break, according to the West Side Rag.

What are going to have next in America—separate rich and poor water fountains, schools, and seating areas in movie theaters, buses, and restaurants?*

*OK, maybe not separate water fountains or seating areas in movie houses, buses, and restaurants. But, then again, think of the forms of class segregation within trains and airlines and, of course, of schools.


Special mention

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As Michael Fletcher observed yesterday,

Even as racial barriers have tumbled and the nation has grown wealthier and better educated, the economic disparities separating blacks and whites remain as wide as they were when marchers assembled on the Mall in 1963.

When it comes to household income and wealth, the gaps between blacks and whites have widened. On other measures, the gaps are roughly the same as they were four decades ago. The poverty rate for blacks, for instance, continues to be about three times that of whites.

Brad Plumer has assembled ten charts to demonstrate that point.


Fast-food workers across the United States are planning to stage their largest strike to date today in a year-long campaign to raise wages and form unions n the service sector.

Employees of McDonald’s Corp, Wendy’s Restaurants LLC, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others have pledged to walk off their jobs in 50 cities from Boston, Mass, to Alameda, Calif., organizers say. They are expected to be joined by retail employees at stores owned by Macy’s Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and Dollar Tree Inc in some cities.

The strike follows a similar protest last November, when some 200 workers walked off their fast-food jobs in New York City. Groups in Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and other cities followed their lead in April and July.

The workers want to form unions and bargain higher wages with their employers without facing retaliation from franchisees or their parent companies. They are demanding $15 an hour, up from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum wage.

The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for lower-wage workers. Virtually all private-sector fast-food jobs are non-union, and organizers say retaliation against workers who try to organize is common.

Martin Rafanan, a community organizer in St. Louis, Missouri, where the minimum wage is $7.35, said local employees of McDonald’s and Wendy’s were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement’s discussions about income inequality. But he added that the main reason for their frustration is financial.

“If you’re paying $7.35 an hour and employing someone for 20, 25 hours a week, which is the average here, they’re bringing home about $10,000 a year. You can’t survive on that.” Rafanan said.


Special mention

toles08292013 Martin Rowson cartoon 29.08.2013


Today, when everyone is appropriately commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech during the March on Washington—but when the drums of war are beating louder and louder—we should also be rereading King’s 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence.”

Disclaimer: Omar Dahi, professor of economics at Hampshire College, is a close friend and former graduate student.

map-unemployed parent

The number of households with children under 18 that had at least one out-of-work parent soared by a third from 2005 to 2011, according to a new U.S. Census report on families and living arrangements. States experiencing a larger than average increase included Hawaii (95 percent), California (61 percent), Nevada (148 percent), and Colorado (56 percent) in the West and Florida (93 percent), North Carolina (54 percent), New Jersey (63 percent), and Connecticut (65 percent) in the East.

The other major finding in the report concerns marriage and the economic situation of children. While it is true that 70 percent of the children who lived with two married parents were in households that were at least 200 percent above the poverty level, marriage does not ensure economic security for children. Of the 16 million children who lived below the poverty level in 2012, 31 percent lived with two married parents—a share that is statistically unchanged compared with 2002. What is more, the percentage receiving food stamps more than doubled since 2002, from 4 percent to 11 percent, showing that children with two married parents were also vulnerable to economic distress.


Special mention

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Chart of the day

Posted: 27 August 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

realy hourly wages

A new study by the Economic Policy Institute [pdf] shows that, between 2000 and 2012, wages were stagnant or declined for the entire bottom 50 percent of the wage distribution. In other words, the majority of wage earners have experienced a lost (long) decade, one where real wages were either flat or in decline.

Note that this is during a period when productivity increased by 24.9 percent, a clear sign that over the course of those twelve years income was redistributed from workers’ pay to profits, which is exactly what can be seen in the chart below:


According to Josh Biven, the corporate sector profit-share has risen enormously, and for calendar year 2012 it was the highest since 1966.