In the past few years, household expenses for average Americans have grown by some $4,600. In the same period, the overall productivity of American workers grew by 20%. But real income actually fell by $2,000.
With those statistics, Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern begins to make his argument that labor unions - which once included a large number of American employees but have declined in recent decades - are essential to maintaining the standard of living enjoyed by American workers.
Judging by the responses to his op-ed piece in The Boston Globe, there is a passionate opposition to his argument. But there is little doubt that the middle class has been shafted in recent years, and Stern's arguments may catch on among the American public.