Thursday, January 10, 2008

When Does The Average American Worker Get a Raise?

Who says wages are flat-lining? They maybe if you are working in the private sector, but if you happen to be lucky enough to work for the Federal government, happy days are here again. President Bush signed an executive order authorizing the increases that affects 1.8 million workers. While I would never begrudge any worker their pay or any increase they can get, I can’t help but notice that those groups of workers who are organized continue to receive pay raises while those who are not organized do not. I wonder if this is a coincidence or if dark forces are at work here conspiring against the average worker?

President Bush today signed an executive order that provides nearly 1.8 million federal employees with an average 3.5 percent pay raise and also increases salaries by smaller percentages for the armed forces, members of Congress, federal judges, diplomats and others.

Under the order, the vice president will receive a $5,400 salary increase, to $221,100. The speaker of the House will receive a $5,300 increase, to $217,400, and the majority leader of the Senate will get a boost of $4,600, to $188,100.

In 2008, members of the House, senators and U.S. District Court judges will be paid $169,300. The chief justice of the United States will be paid $217,400, and Supreme Court justices will receive $208,100.

Members of the Cabinet, usually heads of large departments, will be paid $191,300 this year. Deputy secretaries of departments and heads of major agencies will receive $172,200.
Members of the Senior Executive Service, the government's career senior officials, will be paid from $114,468 to $172,200, according to the order

Now granted a 3.5% pay increase is not a lot, it does however underscore the disconnect between the Beltway and the rest of middle-America. When most other workers will be scrambling to hopefully this year get the increases that have eluded them in the past few years, it is nice to know that our Federal brethren will be taken care of. According to my crack research staff, there have only been two years since 1969 that Federal workers have not received an annual increase 1983 and 1986. I wonder how many of the other average wage earners in America can make that same claim.

Despite reports to the contrary, there are struggles going on in America. There is the struggle to return democracy to the people and away from corporate lobbyists and career politicians, there is the struggle to gain equal protection and opportunities for all Americans, and there is the struggle to balance the threat of terrorists with the freedom of democracy. There is also the struggle of closing the gap between the wealth and incomes of the wealthy with the average American, a gap that has grown larger in the last few years than at any time in our history. In this struggle I believe and agree with John Edwards that it is naive to believe those wealthy people will redistribute their wealth easily or happily. No my friends there will be an epic struggle. It is unfortunate that doing the right thing doesn’t come naturally to these folks, but I guess that’s how many of them got into their positions of affluence. There are those who would have us believe that everything is well in America, but that is a lie. In their usual fashion the MSM is failing to report the concern and in many cases the downright anger of many people with the disparity that continues to grow between the corporate interests and their interests.

People no longer believe the old mantra that what is good for General Motors is good for America. Corporate America has proven time and time again that their interests do not mirror the interests of the average American. The days of blind loyalty and trust of the American people to corporate America are coming to a close. The curtain is being pulled back and Mr. Edwards is exposing the greed for what it is. It is a shame that only one mainstream candidate is trumpeting the cause of the downtrodden and he is being marginalized and ignored. What many people have failed to understand is that as the middle-class goes, so goes America. With so many of our middle-class citizens finding it harder to make ends meet, drowning in debt and stagnant wages the very fabric of America is being unraveled. The sleeping giant is about to awaken and the silent majority will speak.

If the next President does not begin to address these issues there will be large scale restlessness in America unlike any we have seen in decades. The media would have you believe that Mr. Edwards and those calling for change are anti-wealthy, that is false. They are not anti-wealthy, they are anti-greed. Americans have always accepted the tenets of capitalism that some will be wealthy and some will not, but the level of greed that is occurring today is unprecedented. Not only is there great disparity in wealth, but also in the democratic process. Our democracy has been hijacked by the greedy and their tentacles are reaching into every aspect of our lives.

No, there will be no surrender of the lobbyists, corporate interests, or the ruling-class. The change will only come with a fight. Many pundits and talking heads refer to John Edwards as the angry candidate, I for one am glad that he is angry. I know I sure am.


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