No matter how you calculate it, minimum wage has flat-lined over the past 50 years. That's the finding in a 2012 study from the Center for Economic Policy Research. The study reads, “By all of the most commonly used benchmarks – inflation, average wages, and productivity – the minimum wage is now far below its historical level.” If wages had kept up with productivity gains since 1968, it would be nearly $22 dollars an hour.
Senator Elizabeth Warren cited the study in a Senate Committee Hearing last week, calling for the national minimum wage to be tripled. While questioning University of Massachusetts Amerherst Professor, Dr. Arindrajit Dube, who has studied the economic impact of minimum wage, Warren said, “with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn't go to the worker.”
Dube said if wages had kept pace with income going to the top 1%, today it would stand at $33 an hour. Productivity gains show Americans are working harder than ever, and profits have skyrocketed over the last half century. It's time businesses in our nation start rewarding that hard work, and start paying workers a living wage.
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