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Lies and Statistics Keep Coming

The other day, I posted some figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show clearly that those who are out to destroy Social Security, pension plans, and other services are untruthful when they compare the value of hours worked in the past with hours worked today. In fact, the figures showed that an hour worked in 2003 produced four times the wealth of an hour worked in 1949! Check it out!

The question comes up right away about how many hours are being worked, so I went back to BLS for more statistics, which I will put below. From their press release of December 7, 2004, they have an index of the hours of all persons in the business sector with 1992=100. You can see that hours worked in America have gone up very dramatically since 1949. If the index were set to 1949=100, then the figure for 2003 would be 183, representing an 83% increase in the hours worked in America just between 1949 and 2003!

Part of the reason is population growth, but two other big factors are of interest: the influx of new workers, especially housewives who used to be taking care of children, and the actual extension each persons' working hours. Americans actually work more hours per year now than they did at the end of World War II! The social consequences of these statistics is incredible, but beyond the scope of this little commentary.

The point of this article and the previous one is that capitalism is generating tremendous wealth by increasing working hours and the productivity of each hour. This wealth is far beyond what was generated in previous years. So why are they saying that we can "no longer" afford Social Security and other services in America? Here are the figures on hours from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Data reflects press release of December 7, 2004
Sector: Business sector, all persons
Series: Hours of all persons
Type of Measure: Indexes 1992=100

Year An Av
1947 63.0
1948 63.5
1949 61.4
1950 62.3
1951 64.4
1952 64.6
1953 65.4
1954 63.2
1955 65.6
1956 66.6
1957 65.7
1958 62.7
1959 65.4
1960 65.5
1961 64.5
1962 65.7
1963 66.2
1964 68.1
1965 70.4
1966 72.3
1967 72.1
1968 73.2
1969 75.1
1970 73.6
1971 73.3
1972 75.6
1973 78.5
1974 78.6
1975 75.3
1976 77.7
1977 80.7
1978 84.8
1979 87.7
1980 86.9
1981 87.5
1982 85.5
1983 87.0
1984 92.1
1985 94.2
1986 94.9
1987 97.7
1988 100.3
1989 103.0
1990 102.5
1991 100.2
1992 100.0
1993 102.8
1994 106.7
1995 109.6
1996 111.4
1997 115.1
1998 117.6
1999 120.1
2000 121.3
2001 118.7
2002 115.8
2003 115.1 83% more than in 1949!

Just a note from Jim Hightower's "Common Sense Commentaries":
SOCIAL SECURITY WORKS
Let me tell you a story of progressive progress. In 1939, two-thirds of America's senior citizens lived their "golden years" in cold, hard poverty. Just a decade later, that percentage was down to half. By 1959, it was only one-third. Today, the number is less than 10 percent.
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