Business

Obama’s Claimed Wage Gains Go To Supervisors, Not Ordinary Workers

(REUTERS/Noah Berger)

Neil Munro White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama has been touting wage gains for middle-class Americans, but new data shows that the small gains are being won by managers and supervisors, not by ordinary wage earners.

The blog Zero Hedge pointed out the wage discrepancy in the February 2015 jobs report released March 6.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that non-supervisory workers — who comprise roughly 80 percent of company employees — stalled during the second half of 2014, as inflation of 1.6 percent ate most of their total 2 percent gain that year. Those gains, moreover, fell sharply to a 1.5 percent toward the end of the 2014.

But supervisors, including managers, saw their wages nudge up 3 percent in latter part of 2014.

That’s a good increase, partly because inflation dropped in late 2014 down to almost zero, and energy prices fell, despite Obama’s efforts to penalize Americans’ use of gasoline.

But wage gains for the one-in-five Americans who manage or supervisors other Americans are helping to hide the stalled wages for the other 80 percent of Americans working in the private sector.

Those supposed gains have been touted by Obama in recent speeches. “In perhaps the single most hopeful sign for middle-class families in a very long time, wages are beginning to rise again,” Obama told a Feb. 20 meeting of Democrats in Washington, D.C.

He made the same claim Feb. 6, at a town-hall meeting with supporters in Indianapolis. “In the single most hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are starting to go up again,” he claimed.

But many reports shows that ordinary Americans have seen their wages decline during Obama’s tenure, while Obama’s big-government policies have boost income for politically connected wealthy groups.

For example, the end-of-year bonuses for Wall Street bankers in 2014 amounted to $28.5 billion or roughly twice the total wages for 1 million full-time minimum-wage workers in the United States.

The wage problem has been worsened by Obama’s efforts to sharply increase the labor supply.

Since 2009, he’s handed work permits to an extra 4.7 million migrants — including tourists, students and illegals — above the routine annual intake of 1 million legal immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest workers.

Under his November amnesty, he’s also trying to give work permits to roughly 5 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States.

Since 2009, Obama’s government has accepted roughly 8 million working-age immigrants, along with roughly 24 million Americans. That’s one extra foreign worker for every three Americans who turn 18.

The immigration influx has reduced the proportion of working-age Americans in the workforce since 2010.

In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs in January 2010, according to federal data highlighted by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The median household income in January 2015 was $54,332, which is 3.9 percent lower than January 2000, 15 years prior, according to a March 4 report by Sentier Research. The median number is the mid-point in the income scale. Half of the people earned above the number, and half earned below that number.

Despite the dismal wage situation in the high-immigration economy, Obama gives credit to the government for the claimed wage gains, and promises to boost wages via more government-centered policies, such as minimum-wage mandates.

“We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on that ladder into the middle class,” he claimed March 7 in a speech in Selma, Ala.

“We need to make sure that workers are getting paid a fair wage. … I want to congratulate a number of the people around this room that either have already been able to pass a strong minimum wage in their state or are in the process of doing so, and are advocating for it in the future,” he said Feb. 20 at a D.C. meeting with Democratic governors.

Josh Earnest, Obama’s press secretary, also credits government for the claimed wage gains. “We have seen strong improvement in economic growth, we’ve seen even historic improvement in the job market, but we haven’t seen the corresponding increase in wage growth that we would like to see,” he said at the Jan. 13 daily press conference. “Wages did increase in 2014 — not as much as we would like [and] that is a persistent policy problem and one that this administration continues to be focused on, and we welcome the attention that’s shared by others on this, too,” he said.

Obama also suggests — but does not directly claim — that more immigration will boost wages.

“What we know is, long term, if you pass a broad-based, thoughtful, comprehensive immigration reform that makes the legal system smoother, that invites talented young people to stay here and work and invest and start businesses; if we provide a pathway to citizenship for those who have been here a long time; if we strengthen our borders; if we make sure that we’re saying to companies, don’t take advantage of undocumented workers by not paying them overtime, not paying them minimum wage — if we do all those things, we know the deficit will go down, economic growth will go up,” he said Feb. 24 at a Spanish-language town-hall focused on immigration.

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