Last week, in the interest of trying to understand the motivation for some of the anger that’s arguably fueling the current anti-establishment election, I showed the serious depth of real earnings losses among certain groups of workers.
This week, I want to move from diagnosis to prescription, an especially germane exercise given the politics behind all of this. It’s one thing to bemoan the large, real wage losses I showed. It’s another to try to discern who among those running for office has plans that would really make a difference.
First, however, let me quickly revisit a point from last week’s posts. While the groups I looked at—blue collar workers and non-college educated white men—comprise minority shares of the labor force, their wage problems are merely an amplified version of that of many others. In fact, as Elise Gould shows in anew paper on wage trends for the broad labor force, between 2007 and 2015 real hourly pay was flat or falling for the bottom 60 percent of wage earners. At the top—the 95th percentile—hourly pay went up 9 percent. If you were looking for where the growth is going, there it is.
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