(The Progressive) -- Donald Trump and his fans are fond of loudly trumpeting that 70 percent of Americans give the economy a positive rating. Even Trump’s “enemies of the people,” the mainstream media, routinely celebrate the economy, describing it, for example, as “on fire,” and a “tremendous achievement, namely an economic boom uniquely his.”
But dig just a little below the surface of Trump slogans and media headlines, and you’ll find that the much-discussed gains for working people are mostly illusionary. For workers, pay increases averaging just 3.2 percent—84 cents an hour in 2018—still leave working-class people in essentially the same place as four decades ago. Wages have risen only 12.4 percent since 1977, despite a sharp 77 percent escalation in productivity.
Moreover, much of these limited pay hikes remain vulnerable to the deterioration of health-care coverage at the hands of employers who are increasingly transferring the weight of rising health costs to workers. For example, the cost of deductibles has tripled since 2008, growing eight times faster than wages.
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