Fact-checking Cory Booker’s Labor Day wage growth claim

By Matt Rooney

Cory Booker devoted his Labor Day 2019 to a Time guest op-ed in which the junior New Jersey senator sanctimoniously complains about U.S. wage growth (among other economic issues).

“The President likes to tweet about stock prices and the Dow,” Booker wrote, “but what you won’t see him tweeting about is how wages are stuck. How — while corporate profits are basking in the glow of an 85-year high, hourly wages have been stagnant for 45 years.”

Are wages really stuck?

The “stagnant” comment is misleading. Deliberately so.

As the researchers over at Pew recently explained, there has been a growing ‘disconnect’ between America’s wages and purchasing power for decades. That’s the real issue.. Said another way, Americans’ paychecks are much fatter than they were 40 years ago, but Americans’ purchasing power (what their money can buy) has remained stagnant.

Understanding the subtle and important distinction leads to a complicated discussion concerning why the disconnect exists. For example, U.S. trade policies (a current focus of the Trump Administration) have undeniably contributed to the gutting of Middle America which has left many behind.

But Cory is talking about wages, and U.S. wages actually hit a 10-year high this year after many years of stagnation (that word again) during the Obama years. A tight job market is fueling wage growth and consumer spending is correspondingly up in some sectors. For example, a recent study predicted back-to-school spending would rise significantly this fall. 

Back here at home? In the state represented by Cory Booker? Garden State wage growth continues to lag the U.S. average and our cost of living continues to drive long-time residents and prospective millennial next generation taxpayers out of the state. If a recession hits, the state of New Jersey is in deep, deep trouble

Once again, Save Jerseyans, Cory’s attempted critique of the Trump Administration would instead best be leveled at his home state’s ruling Democrat Party. What else is new?

Our verdict: Booker’s wage claim is false.