CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

April 3, 2014

Corporations Need to Step Up

Corporations Need to Step Up

Recently, the American people have been debating front-line economic issues such as the minimum wage, unemployment, job creation, CEO compensation, and income inequality. A then-and-now comparison sheds some light on these issues and leads to harsh conclusions.

The World Bank tracks the minimum wage in countries around the globe. Here’s a snippet from its 2013 report; Canada - $9.95, United States - $7.25, China - $1.19, Mexico and Philippines – 61 cents, India – 28 cents and Bangladesh – 9 cents.

According to CNN.com, in 1980, a CEO of a large corporation made 42 times more than the typical worker. In 2013, that CEO earned 354 times more than the average worker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker’s yearly salary was $34,053 for all occupations last year. CNN Money says the average CEO compensation in large corporations is now over $12 million a year.

In 1980, with a minimum wage of $3.10 and an average wage of $6.82 for production workers, the cost of a men’s shirt was $15.00. Today, with a minimum wage of $7.25 and an average wage of $20.12 ($6.82 factored for inflation would now be $19.43) that shirt actually costs $39.74. Factored for inflation the shirts would cost $42.50, if they were made in the US, but they are not. The above narrative reveals that in 1980 the labor cost of a shirt, in wages only, was 46% of a shirt’s price, today – 50%. Now, as opposed to 1980, there are hardly any defined-benefit retirement or fully-paid health insurance plans offered by employers so the overall cost of manufacturing in the United States has actually dropped, despite inflationary pressures.

Historically, increased productivity has resulted in increased wages. From 1950 to 1980, the productivity of American workers increased 92% and hourly wages rose 87%; however, since 1980, productivity has doubled while hourly wages have risen only 40%. In the former time period the socioeconomic stratification structure of the US resembled a diamond shape with a large middle class, while in the latter, it would resemble a truncated triangle that continues to flatten.

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Obituaries
  • Alan J. Walker, 68

    Kingston, N.H. — Mr. Alan James Walker, 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2014, after a long, brave battle with cancer.

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  • James Reese

    Raymond, NH — James Edwin Reese, 74, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Raymond, N.H. He was the son of John and Ruth Reese, born on Oct. 29, 1939 in Edensburg, Pa. James graduated from Central Cambria High School in Pennsylvania before proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a food inspector. His military service was followed by 31 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector. Mr. Reese was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of his time fishing, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. He became involved in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed passing on his vast knowledge of the wilderness to others. Throughout his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, raising rabbits and working in his garden.

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  • Velma J. Reid

    South Hampton, NH — Velma J. Reid, 80, died peacefully on July 17, 2014 at Exeter Hospital, surrounded by family. She was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 8, 1934, the daughter of the late George C.W. and Alta I. (Kimball) Haynes. A graduate of Haverhill High School, Velma worked at Western Electric until she had children. For years, she was a devoted “stay-at-home” mom who raised her three children in a loving, nurturing environment. She later worked various manufacturing jobs until her retirement. After retiring, she volunteered her time at various organizations and was very involved at the East Kingston Community United Methodist Church as a member of the women’s guild, assisting with the holiday fair, and helping out wherever she could. She had a passion for animals, and would donate money, food, and blankets to the NH SPCA. She loved to sew and made a personalized quilt for every member of her family. She was also a member of the “Ugly Quilts” group, which made blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless using recycled fabric. She is survived by her husband, Clyde Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; daughter, Pam Eaton of Danville, N.H.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Kim Reid of Raymond, N.H.; daughter, Shirley Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; two sisters, Gwen Stuart of Haverhill, and Norma Taplin of Dracut; four grandchildren, Cheryl and Marc Welch, and Kristen and Joshua Reid, and several nieces and nephews.

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  • Carleen A. Knowlton, 80

    Danville, NH — Carleen A. (Rhoadhouse) Knowlton, 80, of Danville and formerly of Hampstead, died on July 7, 2014, at her home.

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  • Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84

    Kingston, NH — Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84, a resident of Kingston since 2001, and former longtime resident of Grafton, Mass., died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 11, 2014, following a long illness.

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