ProductivityVsWages.png
  • Jonathan Golob vs BLS

If you understand this graph—and I'm far from the only person to have ever made this graph—you understand why the United States is flailing.

Since the end of World War II, American workers have met the challenges of increasing international competition and complexity in the world by becoming ever better at their jobs. Americans steadily have produced more per person-hour each and every year; Americans remain the most productive people on the planet. The blue line in this graph traces this trend.

What we get paid for all this excellent work has not kept pace. Americans—in real dollars (adjusted for inflation)—have not had a pay raise since the mid 1970's.

Put it together: We work harder, and better, than ever before. In a time period where we've tripled the value of what we do in an hour, our hourly salary has only crept up by inches. This is the beginning and ending of our economic woes. Workers aren't paid enough to work—not paid what they're worth.

If workers—rather than executives and owners—reaped the benefits of their productivity gains, your salary would be twice what it is right now.

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Grab your last paystub and double it.

Think about what that would mean for you—your household budget, your ability to enjoy life—if you were paid what you're worth. If you own a business, think about what it would mean for you if your customers were paid what they are worth.

If you earn this... ... and were paid what you're worth ... you should be making this
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