Tags: Tomasky | wages | middle class | minimum

Daily Beast's Tomasky: Wages Basically Unchanged for Middle Class Since 1979

By    |   Tuesday, 28 April 2015 08:20 AM EDT

How bad has wage stagnation hit the middle class during the last 35 years?

"Wages have been in essence flat for earners — up 6 percent adjusted for inflation — in the middle of the income scale since 1979," writes Daily Beast special correspondent Michael Tomasky.

"For the top 1 percent, compensation has risen about 140 percent since the fateful year. This needs to be the issue of this [presidential] campaign," says the Democrat.

He turns to research from former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to explain how wages would be different now if their relative value was the same as in 1979. The bottom 80 percent of earners would have $11,000 more per family, and the top 1 percent would have $750,000 less.

Meanwhile, the minimum wage, which totaled $2.90 in 1979, would be $9.38 now instead of the actual $7.25. "And minimum wage is generally thought to have knock-on effects at least a third of the way up the wage chain," Tomasky writes.

Brian Brenberg, professor of business and economics at King's College, disagrees. Don't believe the hype on increasing the minimum wage, he tells Newsmax TV's "MidPoint" program.

The issue is receiving a lot of attention these days, as many states and cities have moved to lift their minimum as high as $15 an hour, and a nationwide protest was held earlier this month over the issue.

But raising the minimum wage is "a very, very risky move," Brenberg argues. "Most of the data that we have on minimum wage increases, suggest that when you increase the minimum wage you reduce employment."

So how can people attain higher pay? "The minimum wage just isn't going to get you there," Brenberg states.

"Today there are many companies that are raising wages, but they're not doing it because of minimum wage laws. They're doing it because the economy is starting to grow, unemployment is starting to fall, and they want to compete for new business." The unemployment rate totaled 5.5 percent in March, a seven-year low.

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How bad has wage stagnation hit the middle class during the last 35 years?
Tomasky, wages, middle class, minimum
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 08:20 AM
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