The corporate giants who continue to pummel the US system can just sell to each other and ignore the consumer. By the look of their actions, that's obviously what the political class thinks so there shouldn't be any problems with this. Who needs 'em anyway, right?
Earlier this year, some 20,000 salaried workers of Ford, mainly in the United States and Canada, got their first hike in base pay in two years. It wasn't much: a raise of 2.7 percent, on average. But the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker threw in some bonuses in 2011 and again this year.
These days, that looks downright generous.
The annual pay raise — something workers could once rely on — has become a lot more iffy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Despite rising corporate profits, average wage hikes aren't keeping pace with inflation. Some new workers are being paid less than they would have been five years ago, by some estimates. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers rose so little in the fiscal year ending in May that their growth rate tied a 47-year record low, government data show. Given the tight labor market, even those who have kept their jobs have had limited bargaining power on wages and benefit.