archive: May 2022

11 May 2022

Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer [$]: “It speaks volumes about how skewed our politics — and the media reporting of it — has become that Anthony Albanese saying workers’ real wages should not fall is deemed controversial by the press and denounced by Scott Morrison… [who] says that there’s no magic wand to lift wages, and that businesses raise wages, not government… But the history of the past decade is Australian businesses don’t lift wages. What they do is use multi-year enterprise agreements to lock workers into lower wages growth, demand increases in immigration to put downward pressure on wages, rely on the Coalition stacking the Fair Work Commission with employer group representatives and Coalition mates, and engage in economy-wide wage theft that has left workers out of pocket by billions. And all along profits rose at the expense of wages, with the profit share of income surging from 2015 at the expense of the labour share — it currently stands near the all-time high level of 2020 — with real unit labour costs falling 9% between 2015 and 2021. Employers have banked all that, while ordinary households were stuck with real wages at 2013 levels. … Albanese should welcome the feral reaction to his monstrous idea that workers shouldn’t go backwards for reasons that have nothing to do with them. And he should signal, loud and clear, to voters tempted to see the whole political and economic game as rigged against them, that as prime minister he’s not prepared to tolerate it. It might do more for politics than just winning an election.”