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Report – Declining value of the federal minimum wage is a major factor driving inequality

Lawrence Mishel | February 21, 2013: “Contrary to some political rhetoric of late, wage stagnation for American workers and rising inequality is not due to lack of effort; the broad middle class has increased its productivity, upgraded its educational attainment, and worked more hours (Mishel 2013). Rather it is due to certain policies that have weakened the bargaining position of low- and middle-wage workers. Among these policies is the refusal to set the minimum wage at a level where it establishes a well-enforced wage floor at 50 percent of the average wage. This paper reviews the history of the minimum wage over the last 50 years and the role of a lowered value of the minimum wage in rising wage inequality.”

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