Harold Meyerson shows how U.S. jobs reflect a descent from American egalitarianism to ever-widening inequality since 1974. Can this long downward spiral ever be reversed? Germany sets an example of how it can be done.

The 40-Year Slump

Only if the suppression of labor’s power is made part of the equation can the overall decline in good jobs over the past 35 years be explained. Only by considering the waning of worker power can we understand why American corporations, sitting on more than $1.5 trillion in unexpended cash, have used those funds to buy back stock and increase dividends but almost universally failed even to consider raising their workers’ wages.

Harold Meyerson, American Prospect