40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage

Growth of real hourly compensation for production/nonsupervisory workers and productivity, 1948–2011

You may have seen charts like the one to the right from the Economic Policy Institute, showing how working people’s wages stopped going up along with productivity gains. This means the gains went…somewhere else. See if you can guess who got them? (Hint: it’s the 1 percent; this is one driver of the terrible income and wealth inequality.) This breakoff of wages from productivity growth is partly the result of trade agreements that pit Americans against exploited workers in non-democracies.

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