Now that corporate America has gotten their trillions in tax savings, they don't have to pretend any longer that the American workers matter in the least anymore.
Very few Americans have enjoyed steadily rising pay beyond inflation over the last couple of decades, a shift from prior years in which the working and middle classes enjoyed broad-based wage gains as the economy expanded.
Why it matters: Now, executives of big U.S. companies suggest that the days of most people getting a pay raise are over, and that they also plan to reduce their work forces further.
Quick take: This was rare, candid and bracing talk from executives atop corporate America, made at a conference Thursday at the Dallas Fed. The message is that Americans should stop waiting for across-the-board pay hikes coinciding with higher corporate profit; to cash in, workers will need to shift to higher-skilled jobs that command more income.
Troy Taylor, CEO of the Coke franchise for Florida, said he is currently adding employees with the idea of later reducing the staff over time "as we invest in automation." Those being hired: technically-skilled people. "It's highly technical just being a driver," he said.
The moderator asked the panel whether there would be broad-based wage gains again. "It's just not going to happen," Taylor said. The gains would go mostly to technically-skilled employees, he said. As for a general raise? "Absolutely not in my business," he said.
Stagnating wages, steep cuts in employees as unskilled workers are replaced with AI, and a massive reduction in standard of living for most Americans from even a few years ago: that's what we're facing in the next ten to twenty years. Steve M breaks it down:
I hope politics can mitigate this, but I fear it may be too late for a political solution -- the rich have too much money and too much power, and democracy is unresponsive to the rest of us. The non-rich are urged to fight among ourselves -- white vs. non-white, native-born vs. immigrant, union vs. non-union, Fox viewer vs. "cultural elitist" -- when we should recognize a common enemy and act accordingly. At this point I can't see a significant reordering of the way things are without violent social unrest, and I see no sign that that will happen anytime soon. For now, massive inequality is here to stay.
Long term, Steve is right. The GOP tax scam package will see to that.
Short term, as long as Trump can convince his base that "those people" still have things that Trump can take from them, that will remain the case. Should however people get tired of the con, either through Trump's political power being broken by Mueller or by a economic recession on Trump's watch (both being very probable) then all bets are off.