Who is Getting Rich? Not Minimum-Wage Workers

Over at Forbes, contributor Erik Sherman has a data-filled article here that begins with an eye-popping statistic: the federal minimum wage has not increased in almost 10 years.  That’s a record (and not a good one, in my view).

After sifting through some recent statistics from the Federal Reserve, Sherman summarizes:

At the starting period, Q3 of 1989, the percentage of total wealth owned by the top 1% of the economic order was 23%. For the 90% to 99%, the percentage was 38%. The 50% to 90% had 36% of the wealth and the bottom half owned 4% of the wealth.

Now look at Q4 of 2018. The top 1% held 31% of the wealth. Next, the group between 90% and 99% had 39%. Those between 50% and 90% of the population had 29% of the wealth, while the bottom half had 1%.

Upshot: The very rich got richer.  The bottom half (half!) became comparatively poorer.

Some wage increases went into effect on January 1, 2017 in New York City.  All over New York State, the minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15/hour, mostly by 2021.  That’s not much, but it is a start.

Let’s see whether the presidential campaign brings renewed attention to the issue.

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