Saturday, February 27, 2021

Raise The Minimum Wage

The chart below shows the inflation-adjusted  federal minimum wage and makes obvious why it should be raised to at least $15/hr. Real minimum wages have been stuck at the same level for over 30 years, dealing a very raw deal to low income  Americans. The same chart also points out one of the driving forces of Trumpism: working class people have seen their living standards constantly deteriorate.



  1. It's even worse than this. Try including productivity as well. Low-wage workers have been pushed to produce more and more in less and less time. Some of this is aided by automation or streamlining processes, but some is just the whip. For instance, check out the differences in quotas for chicken processing plants; the lines move 2-3x faster than in the past. It's inhuman, and the costs are borne by the employer-- often an undoc. immigrant with no rights and no healthcare-- and by society, who pays the price in lost wages and spending on everyday goods and services. But, hey, the yacht-builders and Wall Streeters have had a good run!


  2. Thank you for your comment, you are right. Another way to look at it is that previously well paid factory jobs (eg auto mfg) have been replaced by the broad category of Leisure and Hospitality, ie restaurants, hotels, bars, etc. That's where the largest increase in jobs has been in the US in the last 10-15 years. They are, of course, very low paid.

    Numbers: Since 1980 manufacturing employment in the US has declined from 19 to 13 million, while Leisure and Hospitality has increased from 7 to 17 million.