Posts Tagged ‘Minimum wage’


Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropo...

Mortality is correlated with both income and inequality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Fix America’s Wealth Inequality: Teach Americans to Be Cheap, The Atlantic, 12 March 2013

Wealth Inequality in the United States, Wikipedia

Who Rules America?, Wealth, Income, and Power by G. William Domhoff, UCSC. First posted September 2005; most recently updated February 2013.

It’s the Inequality, Stupid: Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America, Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot | Mother Jones, March/April 2011 Issue

February 02, 2012 MSNBC

Stewart Lansley’s The Cost of Inequality: Three Decades of The Super-Rich and the Economy is full of figures to make the blood boil.

* According to Forbes, the number of American billionaires jumped 40-fold in the 25 years to 2007. In that period general US incomes stagnated in real terms, but the aggregate wealth of the top 400 soared from $169 to $1500 billion. (p. 7)

* The average pay of chief executives of Britain’s biggest 100 companies grew by 11% per annum in real terms 1999-2006; for other fulltime employees the figure was 1.4%. (p. 24) In the US chief execs’ pay ratio to workers’ from 1960 (42 to one) had leapt to 334 to one by 2007. (p. 25)

* To make it global, the combined wealth of the world’s 1000 richest people is almost twice as much as the poorest 2.5 billion. (p.27)

It makes the point that most of us have been around for long enough can feel instinctively – all of this is not some kind of inevitable way of things, but a relatively recent, and relatively sudden, development.

via Inequality – why the workers’ loss of income, and the bosses’ triumph, has broken our economy – Philobiblon.

Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. The mobility gap has been widely discussed in academic circles, but a sour season of mass unemployment and street protests has moved the discussion toward center stage.
One reason for the mobility gap may be the depth of American poverty, which leaves poor children starting especially far behind. Another may be the unusually large premiums that American employers pay for college degrees. Since children generally follow their parents’ educational trajectory, that premium increases the importance of family background and stymies people with less schooling.

At least five large studies in recent years have found the United States to be less mobile than comparable nations. A project led by Markus Jantti, an economist at a Swedish university, found that 42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults. That shows a level of persistent disadvantage much higher than in Denmark (25 percent) and Britain (30 percent) — a country famous for its class constraints.

via Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs –

Mobility for those who are not straight, white, and male is even worse than these statistics would have you believe.

At one time, the conventional wisdom was that capitalism was a means to an end, the end being a better standard of living.  Now it appears that capitalism has become the end itself, and to sustain a healthy capitalism workers will have to make sacrifices.    Case in point: the minimum wage.

On January 1st, the minimum wage increased in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. These eight states all have laws which require them to automatically increase their respective minimum wages by the rate of inflation (called “indexing”). Nevada also indexes its minimum wage but its increase takes place in July.

The state of Washington has the highest state minimum hourly wage at $9.04.  Oregon has the second highest at $8.80.

Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage which remains at $7.25 per hour.  A full-time worker making the federal minimum wage earns just $15,000 a year.

There are those who argue against state laws requiring an inflation adjustment to the minimum wage.  Their most common argument is that such government mandated increases are a threat to business profitability and the health of our capitalist, free-market economy. Putting capitalism first, as I suggest in my opening line, actually means that those arguing against increasing the minimum wage are really arguing for the necessity of a declining real wage.  The minimum wage has not kept up with inflation and increases are needed just to keep workers from falling further behind.  For example, Oregon’s January 2012 increase to $8.80 from $8.50 still leaves the real inflation-adjusted Oregon minimum wage below what it was in 1976.  In 2011 dollars, Oregon’s 1976 minimum wage was $9.09.

via The Minimum Wage and Capitalism » Sociological Images.