The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Breaking News

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

Reality Check

Easy credit in lieu of pay raises?

A policy paper by Catholic Charities USA, “Poverty in America: A Threat to the Common Good,” observes that since 1980, increased worker productivity has not resulted in real increased wage gains. Workers have been working harder and being more productive for their employers, but, generally, they have not shared in the bountiful harvest.

Paul Bellamy, special counsel to the Equal Justice Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Columbus, says over the past 30 years, a loosening of credit has allowed employers to keep wages relatively low and profits high because consumers were given the credit resources with which to finance this shortfall. This approach has also been a huge boom for the consumer credit business.

As the subprime lending crisis is demonstrating, that model can’t continue forever.Many workers are falling behind or defaulting on their mortgages, credit card payments and auto loans as prices for commodities rise and payment capacity is squeezed.

Consumer debt grew 12-fold from 1950 to 2007, even after adjusting for inflation. Fifty-seven years ago, consumer and mortgage debt accounted for about 30 percent of the consumers’ disposable income, according to federal reports. Today, it is 111 percent. In 2007, consumer credit grew 5.5 percent, up from 4.5 percent in 2006.

Sources: Associated Press, Catholic Charities, Plain Dealer

1
Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video