Wages, which initially lagged behind job growth as the economy recovered from its 2001 recession, continued their more recent growth ... [snip]
Average hourly earnings of production workers increased by 6 cents to $17.22, and weekly earnings rose by $3.75 to $583.76. Over the last year, hourly earnings have risen by 4% and weekly earnings by 4.4%.
Thus, earnings are rising faster than price inflation, which, excluding food and energy, rose 2.4% in the most recent 12 months.
P.S.: Note that the government's "average hourly earnings" figures have been controversial in the past because they appear to understate wage gains. If even they show an improvement ... Update: Drum comments. I originally got my criticisms of the "average hourly earnings" data from Barry Bosworth, who has a paper on the subject here, which I'd happily pay for if I could figure out how. ... 2:58 A.M.
Zell Kvells! William Beutler says Sam Zell has "no idea what he's talking about" when it comes to the Internet. ... Holman Jenkins thinks the Zell/Tribune deal won't go through once the shockingly favorable (to Zell) details are exposed. ... 1:25 A.M.
Debate A: Was launching the war a good idea in 2003?
Debate B: Should we "surge" or withdraw in 2007?
Haven't the Democrats, by prosecuting their funding fight with Bush over setting a withdrawal deadline, succeeded in changing the Iraq debate from A to B? From a debate over the war to a debate over the surge? From a debate about the last four years to a debate about the last four months?
And if so, isn't that a really dumb thing for them to do? Debate A looks like a sure winner for Democrats--it's hard to see anything happening between now and 2008 that would convince a majority of voters that starting the war in the first place was a good idea. Debate B, on the other hand, looks much iffier, as the surge shows at least some signs of at least temporary success. Even if the Democrats are right on Debate B they might lose Debate B. The more the surge succeeds, the more Debate B becomes a tossup. But even with a muddled "surge" scorecard, Debate B might skew against the Democrats if the aftermath of a pullout continues to look bloody and chaotic.**
Only a strategic mastermind like N. Pelosi would shift from an argument her party is bound to win to an argument it might lose.*** It would be especially ironic if Democrats lose Debate B because voters are convinced withdrawing would produce a sectarian bloodbath--since that would ordinarily be a powerful additional argument for a Dem victory in Debate A (i.e., the decision to launch the war has been such a disaster that we can't even withdraw in good conscience--we're trapped).
**--You hear rumblings that the Bushies know the surge won't ultimately succeed in winning (i.e. stabilizing) Iraq. But it could still succeed in winning the 2008 election. It's not hard to imagine the Bush administration pursuing the surge through November, 2008--and then shifting to a Juan Cole-like 'negotiated withdrawal' strategy. ...
***--I would guess we're about 36 hours from the first pundit speculating that Speaker Pelosi doesn't really want a Democrat to win the presidency, because Pelosi and the Congressional Dems have more prominence as an opposition power center. Under President Obama, nobody will care if Pelosi travels to Syria. ... Maybe Dick Morris has already said this. ...
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right to Run
If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.
Move Aside, Oxford Comma, the New Battle Is Over Single or Double Quotes
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Ben Bradlee’s Fascinating Relationship With JFK
The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here
I feel like a kid in some kind of store.
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.