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Sam Adams

The Facts on Profits, Salaries and Your Wages

Evidence Shows No Real Advance in Workers’ Wages; Profits and Salaries Soar!

(July 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 30, 26 July 1943, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Profits, salaries, and still more profits and salaries! Here is part of the evidence, printed on this page of Labor Action. Naturally, it is impossible to print it all. But is more needed?

Isn’t this evidence enough to show what is the real situation in this country? It is as plain as day. The capitalists, the whole gang of them, bankers, manufacturers, mine operators, mill owners, and a host of others, are fattening themselves out of the war!

With all the talk about “equality of sacrifice,” it is still the biggest farce of the war. The American ruling class is getting rich from the war; there is a new crop of war millionaires!

Where do the workers stand in this heyday of profit-grabbing? Just about where they have always stood, getting the butt-end of it all.

Prices have, risen way out of line with the wages of the workers. First the victory tax and the income tax, and now the withholding tax eats into the earnings of labor. But it is eating into wages which are already below the cost of living.

The yellow bosses’ press and the pen prostitutes who write their daily lies have been screaming that the workers are the profiteers in this war, that their wages have far exceeded the rise in the cost of living.

It is easy to nail this lie down. The cost of living has risen almost twenty-five per cent in the last year. Food prices, the most important item in the worker’s budget, have risen nearly twice that. There is no real price control and no real price ceilings!

What have the workers received in the past year in the form of wages?

The average 1942 wages of workers in manufacturing industries (that means the war industries) was $37.88! Of these workers, those engaged in durable goods production averaged $44.47 and those in non-durable, $29.71!

These are the averages for the higher paid workers! But there are millions of workers who do not get such “high” wages.

More than 4,000,000 workers still receive less than forty cents an hour. More than 10,000,000 workers made less than $16 a week in 1942 – about $850 for the year!

Sure, workers have received some wage increases in the past year. But compare the following increases with the 25 per cent rise in the cost of living:

This is not a complete list. But it is enough of an indication to show exactly what the workers are getting. True, some of them have received greater increases than others, and get higher absolute wages than others. But, on the whole, the American working class is grossly underpaid and its wages are far below the rise in the cost of living.

Who benefits from these low wages? The answer is spread all over page one of this issue of Labor Action. The American capitalist, the profiteers of every kind, big business and the monopolies, are waxing fat on the sweat and toil of the workers.

Compare the wages and increases of the workers with the salaries and profits of big business and you have your whole story. What to do about it? Here is a start:

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