The Inconvenient Truth About American Wages

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner viaThe,

My grandmother used to say, “You can put truth in the river five days after a lie; truth is gone catch up.”

Well, here’s the truth: The working men and women of this country are working more jobs and more hours, and they’re still barely hanging on. Beneath those fingertips, they can feel that middle-class dream – the American dream – slipping right away from them. It’s time for President Trump to do something about it.

I come from Ohio. It’s where I was born, and it’s where my roots run deep. We are humble, proud and hard-working people who’ve been battered by the twin storms of globalization and greed.

This past weekend, I was in another state full of humble, proud, and hard-working people; I marched with workers from the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss.

For decades, manufacturing provided millions of Ohioans and Mississippians a solid roadway to the middle class. A family breadwinner could work full time and earn enough money to buy a home, put the kids through college, and enjoy a secure retirement.

But today, 600,000 American manufacturing workers make less than $9.60 per hour – barely more than they could earn at a fast food joint. And their real wages dropped nearly 4.5 percent from 2003 to 2013. They are barely hanging on.

We marched in Canton because Nissan isn’t giving its workers the dignity and respect they earn every single day along that assembly line. They are furloughed for the equivalent of months throughout the year, killing plans for homeownership. They don’t have a predictable schedule, putting college tuition for their kids out of reach. They’ve even had their pensions frozen, making dreams of retirement seem more like a cruel joke than an attainable goal.

And that’s just the full-time workers. Nissan uses a temp company, Kelly Services, to fill almost half the jobs at the plant. Temp workers there receive $12 an hour plus the promise that after a certain time, they’ll become full Nissan employees. But many of them languish for years.

To make matters worse, this poverty-wage business model is paid for by our tax dollars. In fact, Nissan and Kelly Services have scooped up more than $3 billion in federal contracts and loans. That means our government is helping keep American factory workers in poverty jobs while corporate executives get to pocket billions in profits.

This isn’t just happening in Canton. Right now, the U.S. government is America’s No. 1 low-wage job creator, funding more than 2 million poverty jobs across the country through contracts, loans and grants with private corporations. That’s more than McDonald’s and Wal-Mart combined. And when federal contractors like Nissan and Kelly Services illegally violate the rights of their workers to organize, they’re passing poverty from generation to generation.

So you can understand why Ohioans and Mississippians sat up and listened when Donald Trump promised that he would bring manufacturing back; that he would create more jobs and better wages. Everyday Americans took him at his word. And now it’s time to hold him accountable.

It’s time for President Trump to guarantee that the only companies doing business with the federal government are the ones that pay living wages, provide safe work environments and benefits, and don’t fight their workers when they want to form a union.

We know that he can do this, because he’s done it before. Workers at the Trump International Hotel – a federally owned property – were allowed to form a union shortly after President Trump was elected. It’s time to demand that other federal contractors do the same thing.

Grandma was right. The truth always does catch up. And the truth of the matter is this: President Trump made us a promise.

It’s a promise that we all need to ensure that he keeps – for our workers, for our families and for the future we all share.

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CRM114's picture

Employment Service agencies are a means for companies to avoid legal responsibilities for employees, and need outlawing by Government. Now.

The Juggernaut's picture


This is what revolutions are made of.  I love the smell of Liberty in the morning.


Davy Crockett's picture

Lot's of thoughts as I read that article.  They should move somewhere else, Nissan doesn't owe them the "dream of home ownership", Nissan is not responsible for the fact that realestate prices have outpaced wages, the FED is, etc.

These people marching in Mississippi may not have the lifestyle they dreamed about as children, but they have a better one than they would have in India, China, etc.

It's a zero sum game.  The more car manufacturing we bring into Mississippi, the less will be needed somewhere else in the world.  The world only needs so many cars.  So those people marching in Mississippi, who are already living better than their peers in other countries, want even more of the pie than they already have.

That's a shitty situation, and the world is cruel.  Given that, if we want to give non-educated workers their bigger piece of the world pie, we need to out compete the rest of the world.  How can we do this, given our higher wages, higher healthcare, etc.?

One thing that comes to mind is to be strategic in our tariffs.  Some bright boy can do the math and figure out that, for example, it may be better to allow China to dump as much cheap steel on us as they can load on to ships.  If they want to subsidize our other industries with cheap steel, wouldn't we be foolish to stop them?  Sure, our steel guys will lose their jobs.  That's why you need to do the math to see if it's worth the damage to the steel industry, if you can jump start your other industries with cheaper steel.  You could also remove all tax on gasoline and diesel.  Get that tax money somewhere else, if the math says that the economic tailwind created by the cheaper transportation cost will make up for the tax revenue loss of not taxing gas.  

If we want to take a larger piece of the world pie for our already overpaid (by world standards) uneducated workers, than we need to do all we can to get the other inputs to our system as cheaply as possible.  This means making some hard choices.

SmackDaddy's picture

This bitch may have been born in Ohio, but her DNA is African.  Nothing worse than hearing one of these fucking monkeys trying to sound smart while repeating shit the Jew taught them....

East Indian's picture

It is not a zero-sum game between workers of America and workers of CHina; it is a zero-sum game between Nissan owners and Nissan workers. 

BrownCoat's picture

@ Davy Crockett,

I liked your screed up until you tripped over one of your assumptions.

"it may be better to allow China to dump as much cheap steel on us as they can" Not!

1. This is the Walmart strategy, set prices low to drive out competition, then jack up prices and roll in the dough. 

2. China has used this strategy often throughout its long history. China creates a dependency on other nations which translates into political power. China's goal is power, not standard of living for its people.

3. The railroad barons used the same strategy. They had deeper pockets than smaller rail lines, so they forced them to either sell or go out of business. 

Should I go on? You assume a fair playing field. That could be a function government might do. Unfortunately, government's track record on this issue is spotty. Usually the deep pocket power blocs control government and get the rules (laws) changed to favor the power blocs and destroy their competition.

Davy Crockett's picture

I hear you what you're saying, and you may be correct.

Why would it be impossible for us to rekindle an industry, such as steel, at some time in the future, if we allowed it to atrophy today?  Why is it taken as a given that once it dies, it stays dead?   If China doubled the price of steel, after all our mills shut down, is it really true that we could never build new mills and start back up?

We need to be a country that adds lots of value, to compensate for our already high wages with respect to other countries and to raise them even higher.  One way to add more value is to start with low cost inputs.  The cheaper we can make those inputs, the more opportunity there is for value add.  Those opportunities become factories.

Somebody is willing to give you cheap inputs, and you turn them down, or tax the shit out of them (steel and gas), then you are denying cheap inputs to countless perspective factories.  Are we sure that what we gain by those actions is worth that lost opportunity?

sgt_doom's picture

"you may be correct."

Please, anyone who  has bothered to study financial history realizes BrownCoat is correct!


Andre's picture

"If China doubled the price of steel, after all our mills shut down, is it really true that we could never build new mills and start back up?"

Pretty much yes, "It'sa gone" for good.

As the factories close (so far about 60k) the tax base vanishes, the equipment is sold off or scrapped, the buildings deteriorate, and the skill set vanishes. We already had a problem with lost tech in the steel industry by 1965. No big deal, but the ability to create large amounts of homogeneous armor plate like the battleships had was gone.

Job losses affect the upcoming work force. Less loyalty, less willingness to learn, actual avoidance - "I don't want to end up like THEM." Management has suffered too, seeing people as numbers, not skilled labor. A LOT of managers know nothing about the industries they are in, "one style fits all" - not. Then you have the automation "computers do it all" nuts. Vault 7, anyone?

Going back to the tax base, you have infrastructure deterioration (roads, housing, water, etc.). It takes about a decade of concentrated effort to re-industrialize, and that is with the basic management competence and work force mentality (Europe and Japan post WW 2). Given what we have now - good luck.

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture
  1. End the Fed
  2. End all corporate welfare
  3. All goods produced, assembled, or otherwise received from outside the USA defaults to X% tariff until such entity can thoroughly demonstrate that it receives no subsidy or support, directly or indirectly, from a soveriegn state. Any violations of this result in an immediate 5 year moratorium on all goods & services from that entity, any any re-incorporations which derived assets from the original violator.
  4. Eliminate nearly all other federal regulations regarding commerce.

Pipe dream. Will never happen. But that's why DC has to burn.

NotApplicable's picture

Even governments have had to resort to temp agencies in order to retain part-time employees who worked more than 29.5 hours per week affected by the Obummercare laws.

CRM114's picture


The UK Labour Party is still advertising zero hours contracts,and unpaid internships, for its own employees 3 years after they officially stated they were evil.


Governments just need to do the job they were elected for. Change the rules to incentivize the behavior they wish to see; full time employment.

junction's picture

Watch as Trump turns into an Obama clone as he parties and golfs on while the United States continues on its path to a low wage prison for most.  The United States is tied with Lesotho and Swaziland at the bottom for having no family medical leave policy for women who give birth.  Instead of prison watchtowers, we have the CIA and NSA monitoring us.  Looters like Treasury Secretary Mnuchin are protected by crooked prosecutors.  Monsanto owns the FDA and the USDA, even though its Round Up herbicide is linked to everything from cancer to Crohn's Disease.  Besides that, glyphosate doesn't work against new superbugs. Fake reporters are everywhere, spreading lies. This Zero Hedge posting shows another example of tax dollars being shoveled to corporate insiders, with the shovellers getting a deferred kickback down the road.  Welcome to Nazi America.   

Slingsby's picture

Yeah right. Let’s face it. Anyone can put on a good show and bullshit their way through a few interviews. Go through a temp agency and if after a month or so the employee turns out to be a lazy piece of shit you just call and tell your rep that their placement is not working out. Try before you buy.

It costs more but that’s how I hire for full time positions. Six months on as a temp and then transition if it’s going well. Frigging HR nightmare getting rid of someone once they are full time.

CRM114's picture

One month, six months..doesn't matter. The point is these people aren't being hired full time after YEARS.

And as for renewable contracts; well, my cousin got renewed twice for a yearly lecturing job. Top level performance, but they would have had to take him on to permanent staff at a higher salary after that. They disestablished the post and sacked him.......then decided a month later to re-establish the post in time for the new college year. He later discovered they'd pulled this trick twice before on the same post.


So,whilst I sympathize with your difficulties in getting rid of lazy people, the fact is that employment law is being very widely abused for no reason other than profit, and Employment agencies are part of that.

cowdiddly's picture

and wonder WHY everyone that show up is a POS.

BrownCoat's picture

@ CRM114

It's the government that places too many constraints on employers. 
But if your solution is to have government make more laws, go for it! Just don't complain when you get skewered. 

P.S. Your public education is showing, idiot.

CRM114's picture

The Government simply needs to change the employment laws to close the loopholes about temporary employment that the firms and agencies are exploiting. If someone is working for the same firm for x months, then they are permanent. So,no new laws (I agree that's not the way), but better existing ones.

Tactical Joke's picture

You would have us be France. It's clear to me that most of you haven't rant a business and are little more that socialist lite.

GlassHouse101's picture

The globalists happened. . . At one point America had HALF of the world's wealth. The world couldn't compete with us, so we were hijacked from within, and ejected our industries to the Eastern world.

CJgipper's picture

Hold him accountable?  7 weeks?  Smells Demorat to me.



Yep, it is.  And what did she do for them in her 6 years in office?

cesar's picture

It will take a long time to repair the damage to America's economy. Trump can't fix that in a couple of months although he seems to genuinely care and might be moving USA in the right direction, finally!  However Trump faces lots of headwinds (1) AI keeps getting better and will kill lots traditional jobs.  (2) some elites will try to sabotage his efforts. 

Be prepared to see it get worse before it gets better. Stay strong & support Trump because TINATT ( there is no alternative to Trump)


Angry White Guy's picture

Article is obtuse.  The damage isn't limited to manufacturing solely.  The wage depression runs across all earners minus the tip top percentages.

TheABaum's picture

Article is a lie. Leftists doing what leftists do. 

44magnum's picture

And nissan titan is 40k. wtf

Dr. Engali's picture

No worries, you can finace that for 10 years at a "low low" rate and park it in front of your $30k house.

moonmac's picture

High cost of living is the problem. More gubbermint won't solve that!

Angry White Guy's picture

That's half the problem, indeed.

Tarjan's picture

Yes, America has a cost problem that will keep it from being competitive. Even if China pegged the RMB at 1:1 to the USD they still have a huge cost advantage. I live in China and not too far from my home is a light industrial area with Texas Instruments, Siemens, Apple, Foxconn (without suicide nets), etc. factories. Let's say the average worker in those plants makes $3.75 an hour. If that worker lives in an apartment nearby he/she commutes to work on an electric scooter - new cost about $400, with $0 in insurance costs, and at most $9 per month to charge the battery. Compare that cost with how US workers in cars or pickup trucks get to work.

A Chinese worker/employer does not have the problem of Obamacare to contend with. Medical care here is inexpensive. Last year I had a bicycle accident and badly bruised my left calf. The cost of x-rays (to rule out broken bones), diagnosis, and treatment came to the equivalent of $35.

The cost of food for these workers is reasonable. When I eat like the locals, I can get by on $4.50 a day, or slightly less, eating out. For the workers that do not live in a company dorm, a rental apartment of say 35 sm can cost as little as $105 per month, less if shared. After all monthly expenses, that $3.75 per hour worker can, and does, save 15% to 30% of their pay each month.

I do not know how to fix America's cost problem, but sound money might be a start in the right direction.



centerline's picture

A large middle class was a historical outlier.  But, it's tough to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle.  Rest assured though, the elite are trying.  Globalization is the key to it.  Is why the immigrant mess is so clear to all of us and so forcibly pushed by the political class.


csmith's picture

Bankers and bureaucrats PREVENTING DEFLATION to promote their own interests is JUST AS BAD for working people as runaway INFLATION.  The practical outcome is essentially the same.

Jayda1850's picture

"Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Johnny tell him what he's won"

"Well Skip, he's won a whole bunch of currency that has lost 90% of its value since 1913 and became even more worthless since Nixon closed the gold window. Pretty soon he will not even be able to afford the wheelbarrow he'll need to tote it around in"

Pigeon's picture

Actually, I thought it had lost 90% of its value since the gold window closed. I recall a Law Review relative of mine getting a job at a top-flight NYC law firm in the early-70's. She was being paid an astronomical sum of $15,000 per year as first year attorney.

LawsofPhysics's picture

It's even worse.  Since 1971 bankers and financiers have been nothing but useless middlemen stuck between the printer/computer and the producer/consumer in the real economy.

They have been given access to as much FREE MONEY (NIRP/ZIRP) as they want!!!

Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

Be optimistic in that economies do evolve and eventually execute the middlemen.

JuliaS's picture

Inflation - prices rising faster than wages.

Deflation - wages falling faster than prices.

Heads - they win. Tails - you loose.

VIS MAIOR's picture

"barely more than they could earn at a fast food joint " there has been fast food and joint...)))

Pigeon's picture

I wish I could believe she wasn't simply a union shill. I note that she didn't mention anything about fat-cat union bosses in her sentence about egregious billions exec mgt and Wall St wring out of these companies.

TheABaum's picture

Marching with "BS" Bernie Sanders and Danny Glover. Enough said?

Just the left trying to recapture a demographic they lost chasing after globalists, white priviledge and transgender rights.




Pigeon's picture

Oh. I conveniently missed the who-she-was-marching-with bit. Doh! I guess that means I was right about her being a shill. Good points!

Robert Trip's picture

Guess it all depends how big your "dreams" are as an American worker.

I live frugally and enjoy myself along with making ends meet, paying my bills with money left over for beer.

If you have a $100.00 a month phone plan don't bother discussing your fucking hard times with me.

JuliaS's picture

Had a person in mid 20's sneak onto the bus though the back door the other day to mumble how fares were too high and unfair, while fiddling with the latest iPhone.

Fucking piece of shit whose ride I get to subsidize. I see people like him everywhere. The only thing missing is a pink pussy hat.

Dr. Engali's picture

 "and don’t fight their workers when they want to form a union."


I'm sorry, but companies have just as much right to resist a union as the workers have a right to form one.

TheABaum's picture

Funny thing about unions. 

You can't get rid of them, like guests that overstay their welcome. Or termites. 


cowdiddly's picture

And then the scabs complain about working for 9 bucks for a temp. If someone told me I was going to get paid that for anything past flipping burgers or answering a phone I would laugh in his fucking face and flip him a quarter.

You don't have any bargaining power dumbass. What, do you think a stinkin corporation with a army of accountants are just going to give a living wage and cut into the bonus pool scam? .LOL

If you go to work for a shop like that You get exactly what you deserve, And I am supposed to listen to economic advice from number 50 Missa fuckIn Sippi? HA.

dchang0's picture

Amen to that.

Unions are a way for workers to have their cake and eat it too.

They want all the benefits of bargaining as a collective with all the benefits of being paid as an individual. This creates a massive moral hazard that doesn't exist if they bargain as an individual and get paid as an individual OR bargain as a collective and get paid as a collective (just like a subcontracted corporation does).

In other words, by force of law, unions get preferential treatment over individual workers and business-to-business corporate sub-contracting. Unsurprisingly, over the long term, unions become unsustainable because you just can't have your cake and eat it too.

We see this now with the union-negotiated public-sector pension plans collapsing because earlier union retirees get lavish pensions and the unions negotiated too-ambitious-to-be-true defined benefits from the vote-buying politicians. They had too much bargaining power and bargained their pay and benefits into the stratosphere, higher than reality could ever sustain.

foodstampbarry's picture

Why raise wages when we have the Fed? Debt slavery for all bitchez!

Robert Trip's picture

"Countries with the Highest Taxes and Totally Controlled by Jews" for $300 Alex.


This country, once the envy of the industrialized world.........

TheABaum's picture

Meanwhile, a few clicks away.


"On Saturday 3/4, we'll be rallying in Canton, MS with Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner, Danny Glover and Nissan workers. They're fighting for their rights, and we're standing with them."

Come on Tylers, you can't be so content starved as to pass off this leftist drivel masquerading as righteous indignation.