Once a staple of the American workplace, the annual raise is turning into a relic of the pre-crisis economy as companies turn to creative — and cheaper — ways to compensate their employees.
...“There’s been this seismic shift,” said Gary Burnison, chief executive of Korn Ferry, an executive search and talent management firm. “And I think one of those is that the raise has gone the way of the gold watch.”
The decline of the raise could help explain one of the most frustrating puzzles of the America’s lumbering economic recovery: stagnant wages. Growth in workers’ average hourly earnings has been stuck at roughly 2 percent for the past five years — even after the rapid drop in unemployment and surge in hiring over the past 18 months.
It’s one of the main reasons many Americans feel the recovery remains elusive, as stagnant wages mean rising rents and college tuition take a bigger bite out of the family budget. Economists are divided over whether the paltry paychecks are the new normal or a sign of underlying weakness in the labor market, especially among people in relatively low-wage jobs like retail.
But wages don’t tell the whole story, some economists argue. Broader measures of compensation casting a rosier light on what Americans take home — in particular in the higher-skilled jobs that come with benefits.
Government data shows companies’ spending on benefits has jumped 16 percent since 2004, after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 2 percent increase in wages. Some of that reflects higher health care costs that companies have covered through employee insurance programs. But it also includes things like bonuses, vacation time and tuition reimbursement. And all told, benefits now make up 31.6 percent of workers’ total compensation, a share that has steadily risen over the past decade, according to government data.Of course, the problem with the ComPost story is they are trying to paint a happy face on a bleak picture, while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the reasons why people are getting paltry raises, or no raise at all.
What has Obamacare done for the average worker and employer? Well, I can tell you from my own check that my health care costs have gone up, while the plan I first had when I started with my employer was replaced by another plan...with higher deductibles. How can an employer afford to give raises, or even hire new workers, when they have to pay more in health care costs, and are strangled by more regulations and other hindrances to hiring and keeping workers.
And while the stenographers at the ComPost and other Democrat/Media outlets celebrate the so-called "economic recovery," those of us who live in the real world see through the delusion that the cheerleaders of Obama and big government paint for us. We find it harder to save money, harder to pay the rent, put gas in the car, put food on the table when the price of everything is going up. And if you lose your job, good luck finding another. It's harder in the DC area to find a job than it was even during the 2008 recession, which Obama and the Democrats used against the Republicans to get their way into office in 2008.
In short, we have to live every day with the consequences of what big government has done to our economy, but even worse, is how what big government has wrought leaves us in danger as a nation of passing down to the next generation a country with less opportunity, less prosperity, less freedom, and more debt.
Hearing of this story in the Washington ComPost got me thinking about the release next week of the new book by radio talk show host Mark "the Great One" Levin, Plunder and Deceit, Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and Their Future, and how the timing of the book's release is relevant to what is going on in America today (Simon and Schuster).
In modern America, the civil society is being steadily devoured by a ubiquitous federal government. But as the government grows into an increasingly authoritarian and centralized federal Leviathan, many parents continue to tolerate, if not enthusiastically champion, grievous public policies that threaten their children and successive generations with a grim future at the hands of a brazenly expanding and imploding entitlement state poised to burden them with massive debt, mediocre education, waves of immigration, and a deteriorating national defense.
Yet tyranny is not inevitable. In Federalist 51, James Madison explained with cautionary insight the essential balance between the civil society and governmental restraint: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
This essential new book is, against all odds, a likeminded appeal to reason and audacity—one intended for all Americans but particularly the rising generation. Younger people must find the personal strength and will to break through the cycle of statist manipulation, unrelenting emotional overtures, and the pressure of groupthink, which are humbling, dispiriting, and absorbing them; to stand up against the heavy hand of centralized government, which if left unabated will assuredly condemn them to economic and societal calamity.
Levin calls for a new civil rights movement, one that will foster liberty and prosperity and cease the exploitation of young people by statist masterminds. He challenges the rising generation of younger Americans to awaken to the cause of their own salvation, asking: will you acquiesce to a government that overwhelmingly acts without constitutional foundation—or will you stand in your own defense so that yours and future generations can live in freedom?Levin's books, especially the recent ones Liberty and Tyranny, Ameritopia, and The Liberty Amendments (which I believe is one of the keys needed to fundamentally restore the values that made our nation great), should be required reading in any institution of higher learning for government and constitutional scholars, because of the vast knowledge these books bring of our history and the Constitutional principles our nation was founded upon. I know Plunder and Deceit will do likewise and inspire more Americans to take action and get involved.
If you want to read some pre-release reviews, feel free to check out the ones at American Spectator, PJ Media, Breitbart, Jen Kuznicki, and American Thinker, among others. Though I'm not fortunate enough to do a pre-release review, I'm looking forward to being at Tyson's Corner on August 22nd for one of five book signings Levin will hold, to buy a copy and have it signed.