Skip to main content

Graph, thousand words, etc:

Bar graph showing the minimum wage in nominal and 2014 dollars, from 1968 to 2013. Has not kept pace with inflation.
The green bars are the ones to pay attention to, representing how much the minimum wage in any given year was worth in today's dollars. What's harder to see is that this graph doesn't show you every single year. For instance, the really big drop about a quarter of the way in takes you from 1981 to 1988—the Reagan years, in other words. But while there are bumps here and there when Congress raised the minimum wage, overall we simply see that the minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation. These have also been decades in which minimum wage workers have become older, more educated, more likely to be parents.

This graph highlights why the minimum wage needs to be raised now, and why it needs to be indexed to inflation, stopping the pattern of eroding wages and then an insufficient bump up and then more erosion.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 09:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Well, Wa Post graph maker sux. Why not show (0+ / 0-)

    every year?

    No viewer will look at the fine print to see how big the jump is between years. That's not how graphs work.

    That said, this draws a direct line between Reaganomics - still the overarching policy of the land - and the plight of minimum-wage workers.

  •  While a higher minimum wage is certainly called (0+ / 0-)

    for, we also need to look at our practice of using unemployment as a price anchor for our fiat dollar, and the general rule of the fed reserve increasing interest rates when unemployment hits 6%.

    In short, the gov steps in to create unemployment as a means to keep wage price inflation from happening.

    This is the first issue that should be politicized.

    We should use a buffer stock of the employed as price anchor, and have a Guaranteed Jobs Program.

  •  Fed gov spending has decreased since 2010 a lot: (0+ / 0-)

    Government spending growth has averaged 7% annually since WWII, nearly 9% thru 1985 but dropping to 5% thereafter.

    Since 2010 spending growth has been an anemic 0.6%.

    Numbers based on the FGEXPND series.

    It's nuts.

  •  The good news is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the majority of Americans either knows or senses that wages need to rise, so it's not yet another case where we have this huge battle of messaging to wage first to win over the masses. People want an increase in the middle wage.

    The bad news is that the majority of Americans has little say in what D.C. does to respond to what people want.

    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:55:15 AM PDT

  •  Minimum Wage = Poverty Line (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Federal minimum wage should be set to equal the poverty line for an individual. The Federal government should set the poverty line at the subsistence cost for an individual in each zipcode in the country.

    The minimum wage (higher of Federal or state) should be paid by employers to everyone employed, and by the state to everyone enrolled in any accredited school (including trade/training) for all hours mandated by the curriculum (including homework/papers). The Federal education budget should pay the student wages to states for public schools (all of which should be as free as K-12 is now).

    Public schools should include 8AM-6PM daycare from age 6 months, and maternity/paternity leave should include publicly paid minimum wage for 6 months.

    Anyone willing to work or to study should be able to live above poverty. That basic work economy would increase all labor productivity, as well as give everyone the chance to break with their past before they got a job or education.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:58:37 AM PDT

  •  Inflation is the wrong measure for comparison (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott jones

    The chart would be even more powerful if a third line were added: productivity.  Our economy - workers plus machines and infrastructure - is far more productive than it was in 1968 - and yearly gains in productivity exceed inflation.  In a just society, those gains would be shared with workers, not expropriated by shareholders.

  •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, scott jones

    Looks like the drop in value of wages from 1998-2007 may have contributed to the crash of 2008???  Could it be that the falling value of people's mostly fixed incomes lead them to default on their mortgages???  No, couldn't be.  It was all Jimmy Carter's fault, remember?

  •  Why the big gaps? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    You don't need to pick cherries to make a compelling case for this.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:32:29 AM PDT

  •  This chart leaves out tipped wages - or there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should be an additional chart for that.  Tipped wages have not gone up with the frequency of non-tipped, so it would be an even starker comparison.  Or perhaps that would have made the newspaper more uncomfortable?

  •  Why do people vote against themselves? Religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And do not tell me it makes no difference between Democrat or Republican. I am sick of that "logic". You need to look at the damage done by Republican Supreme Court appointees, and by the Reagan and George W bush administrations, and the fools who voted for Ralph Nader, when we were telling them not to. Here we are, facing another setback in 2014 when the Evangelicals hand their Red States over to Republicans. Reagan got in largely through Falwell's Moral Majority. Bush got in strictly because he was an Evangelical who got 75% of the their votes. It is time Right-Wing Christians took a stand against ignorance; their own. If they don't, it will continue, and it is due to religion, religion, religion.

  •  Minimum wage is pro-business (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives and libertarians like to argue against the minimum wage with the claim that workers should be paid according to their productivity and (out of concern for low wage workers) that any [low] wage is greater than no wage. The problem with this position is the onus of productivity is placed completely on the workers as if managers and business owners have no control over production.

    A counter argument is that the government expects all businesses operating within its jurisdiction to be sufficient efficient to ensure their employees are able to earn some preset minimum wage. The effect is twofold: assurance that the standard of living does not slip below some minimum and promotion of profitable business practices, that is, demands all businesses have a good business plan. This helps ensure employers do not profit by over exploiting their workers. Business owners and entrepreneurs are still free to pay themselves as they see fit.

  •  Let's see ... (0+ / 0-)

    2004: hired at $10.50 an hour.

    Average annual raise: 6.2 cents

    2014 wage: $11.12

    $10.50 adjusted for ten years of inflation: $13.13.

    What a great deal!

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:31:45 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site