Politics Magazine

The Income Gap Is Still Growing

Posted on the 10 August 2013 by Jobsanger
The Income Gap Is Still Growing (The cartoon above is by Christopher Weyant in The Hill.)
It is no secret that there is currently a wide gap between the incomes of the rich and the rest of America -- a gap that has not been this wide since before the Great Depression. While the rich are getting richer, by making more and paying less in taxes, the rest of the American people are not. The median wage is falling, and the middle class is disappearing.
An example of what has happened can be seen by looking at wages historically. Back in 1968, a minimum wage worker made $1.60 an hour. That may not seem like much, but in today's dollars that would equal about $10.74 an hour. That means a minimum wage worker in 1968 working full-time would have had the same buying power as someone making about $22,339 a year today. But a minimum wage worker today makes only $7.25 an hour -- or just a little over $15,000 a year.
Obviously, today's minimum wage worker can't buy what a minimum wage worker in 1968 could buy. But it gets worse. According to the Social Security Administration, about 40.28% of all American workers make less than $20,000 a year. That's right. More than 2 out of every 5 workers in the United States make less than a minimum wage worker made in 1968. And the situation is growing worse -- not better.
A significant majority of the jobs being created in the United States right now are minimum wage or low wage jobs -- jobs that add to the number of people making less than $20,000 a year. This means the median wage will continue to fall, as good jobs disappear (or are shipped to other countries) and are replaced by low wage jobs -- and the middle class will continue to shrink. America is on the path to becoming a huge third world country, composed of only the rich and the poor.
The income gap is America is already out of whack, and just keeps growing -- because Congress refuses to take any action to restore some balance. Congress, especially the Republicans there, still buy into the argument that what is good for the giant corporations is good for all Americans. That is not true, and never has been true, but it is what passes for economic policy in Congress.
How long are the American people going to put up with this?

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