A quick post on income

As part of doing some research on minimum wage I found out that compared to average household income, minimum wage has dropped from just over $44,000 (in 2004 dollars) back in 1951 to about $30,000. Yes. That’s right. The average person in the United States now makes only 2/3rds of what they would have made 50 years ago. To get an idea of what that means, pretend that each paycheck you get was 50% larger. (And that’s not even counting the increase in taxes as the tax cuts for the superwealthy were paid for by everyone else).

The orange line in the chart is the average worker’s annual income in thousands of 2004 dollars. Wonder why it seems hard and harder to make ends meet? Wonder why couples now are both working and have less income than their parents did with a single income household? Wonder why the “American Dream” seems a cruel joke? It isn’t that earlier generations were just naive. They didn’t believe in some mythical fairy tale. For them, it really was possible…


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