Payrolls Way Down, Senate Dithers On Jobs

Yesterday the Social Security Administration offered a first look into reported payroll taxes for 2010 and the news is simply awful and only add more fuel to the frustrations playing out all over the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This country has fewer jobs and those jobs that do exist pay less. Median wages fell another percent to $26,264, the lowest level, adjusting for inflation, since 1999. The number of Americans without any work fell again also. Put in perspective, 3.3 percent of the people who had a job in 2007, or one in every 33 Americans, went all of 2010 without earning a cent.

But the numbers can’t bring us to the conclusion that all of America is hurting. The number of workers making $1 million or more rose to almost 94,000 from 78,000 in 2009. It’s a deceptive rise. The numbers crunched by SSA come from all reported W-2 wage forms and add up to slightly more than $6 trillion in total wages and salaries reported. Adjusted for inflation, that is less than each of the previous four years and almost identical to 2005, when the U.S. population was 4.2 percent smaller.

So what happened with this news? Nothing. The Senate killed a modest jobs proposal. Had they paid any attention to these numbers those championing continuing the Bush tax cuts and slashing federal spending will see that in the long run, these policies hurt even the most protected of constituencies–the very rich– making them too less well off then they would otherwise be.

Which brings us back to Occupy Wall Street. Having millions of Americans out of work and going years without the ability to get a job is not just a waste of resources, it is the stuff that produces systemic shifts in societal attitudes about work and capital. For those of us hoping to turn course toward a society of greater economic justice this is good. For Wall Street and its benefactors though, their short-term political game may cost them dearly long-term.

Photo from tracy o via flickr.


joanna e.
joanna e6 years ago

To Rob K., And after two years.....nothing.

Jayna W.
Jayna W6 years ago

Yes, he is dithering on jobs as is everyone else. Why? Because one cannot create jobs out of a service economy. Let me ask you a question. How many people are needed to flip hamburgers, or wash cars, or wait tables? What of real and lasting value is being created? The answer is; nothing. And how many jobs need to be created to support these industries? The answer is; very few. In fact, a service sector economy is a Ponzi scheme, a house of cards on the verge of collapse. Let's look at the reality of the jobs bill. Who do you think that schools and governments are going to hire to repair bridges and roads and rebuild schools? It certainly will not be Americans. Under the pretense that American are not willing to do these jobs, the vast majority of those who will benefit will be illegal aliens hired to do these jobs at wages that are a little above minimum wage. In fact, the jobs bill is a sham to provide illegal aliens a work program. There will be absolutely no language in any of these jobs bills, whether legislated or accomplished by administrative fiat, that will protect you, the American worker against competing with prison labor or labor performed by illegal aliens. What happens when this work is completed and the money is gone? Let me tell you what happens. All of those people will be out of work and then...back to square one! Believe me, prior administrations, this administration and future administrations do not care one little bit about the American worker. If you b

Beth Davis
Beth D6 years ago

Steve really has those talking points down, doesn't he? Too bad there's not a bit of truth there. I do have to assign blame to the media fools, who report on a biased point of view to further themselves. However, the republicons in the Senate are the ones who voted the jobs bill down, well actually just fillabustered it, as they have been doing all along. Yes there are 2 traitors on the dems side and 1 independent. Still the reporters just say the Senate and those under-informed think automatically its dems to blame. I don't understand why you all don't have the guts to research these issues for yourself, say from a neutral point of view? It's OK to learn that maybe you got misinformation, its OK to think for yourself and change your mind and have a difference of opinion from those you are 'conditioned' to have.

Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey6 years ago

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that our Government has handed out $16 trillion to the banks.
Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t hear me the first time. The GAO says that our Government HAS HANDED OUT $16 TRILLION TO THE BANKS.
That little gem appears on Page 131 of GAO Report No. GAO-11-696. A report issued two months ago. A report that somehow seems to have eluded the attention of virtually every network, every major newspaper, and every news show.
How much is $16 trillion? That is an amount equal to more than $50,000 for every man, woman and child in America. That’s more than every penny that every American earns in a year. That’s an amount equal to almost a third of our national net worth -- the value of every home, car, personal belonging, business, bank account, stock, bond, piece of land, book, tree, chandelier, and everything else anyone owns in America. That’s an amount greater than our entire national debt, accumulated over the course of two centuries.
A $16 trillion stack of dollar bills would reach all the way to the Moon. And back. Twice.
That’s enough to pay for Saturday mail delivery. For the next 5,000 years.

Jim Gayden
Jim Gayden6 years ago

Kenny W. very effective use of logic!

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan6 years ago

We should pay each one of them the average unemployment benefit check and food stamps;what passes as health care for the unemployed. NO extra money beyond that,including NO campaign contributions. The see how fast things would change!

Robert H.
Robert Hamm6 years ago

UMMMMMMMMMMM and this is news to you?? We have known about it for quite some time LOLOLOL

Jack C.
Jack C.6 years ago

Misery index on the rise, Yes, folks the U.S. government reported, worst misery index in 28 years, since 1986. For you left learning liberals, its the sum of the U.S's inflation and unemployment rates. Facts are facts, but you'll never read about it on this site.

Craig Gosling
Craig Gosling6 years ago

Let's cut the salaries and health benefits of all senators and congresspeople to save money and lower the cost of government.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

Keep dithering Republicans for we have long memories.