Increasing Inequality

Lifetime income rose modestly for the typical man who entered the labor force from 1957 to 1966. But then it began to decline. In all, the median lifetime income for men who began working in 1983 was lower than for men who started in 1967, by 10 percent to 19 percent, depending on the inflation measure used. ...
The researchers found that declining lifetime income among men after 1967 was almost entirely attributable to lower incomes at younger ages, without any offsetting increases at later ages. ... Since today’s workers face those same trends, the same downward trend in lifetime income is likely.

As workers lose ground, inequality deepens, because money that would flow to wages tends to flow instead to those at the top of the income ladder.
- THE EDITORIAL BOARD, Work and Reward: The Great Disconnect, NYT, JULY 6, 2017

In recent decades, the nation’s tremendous economic growth has not led to broad social uplift. Economists call it the “productivity-pay gap” — the fact that over the last 40 years, the economy has expanded and corporate profits have risen, but real wages have remained flat for workers without a college education. Since 1973, American productivity has increased by 77 percent, while hourly pay has grown by only 12 percent. If the federal minimum wage tracked productivity, it would be more than $20 an hour, not today’s poverty wage of $7.25.
- Matthew Desmond, Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not., NYT, Sept. 11, 2018

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