What Are We Doing Right for America's Poor?

We were doing a bit of reading on inequality and ran across an article by the Economist, the thesis of which was that larger firms lead to rising inequality.

To show this rising inequality, they displayed a graph of the change (as %) in inflation-adjusted wages for American workers, broken into the top through bottom quintiles:

When one looks very closely at the graph (we almost missed it!), one sees a very surprising result that the Economist doesn't mention.

Look at the dark blue line, which is the highest-rising of the five quintiles. To our surprise, it was the 5th--or bottom--quintile.

What this means is that when looked at this way, America’s poorest have seen the largest growth in wages of any income group.

With this in mind, something to consider: what might America be doing right to help its poor almost double their wages, particularly given that the real value of the minimum wage has stayed the same in that time period? How can it do more?


Erik Fogg

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