“Raising wages is the most efficient way to stabilize the U.S. economy. So go for that raise; it's your patriotic duty.” That’s how columnist Barbra Garson ends her op-ed piece published on the L.A. Times website today.
Garson argues that the case for the current economic downturn, and the difficulty we are having pulling ourselves out of it, can be found in the lack of substantial wage increases for workers over the past decades. “Between 1971 and 2007, U.S. hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, rose by 4 percent. (That's not 4 percent a year; it's 4 percent over 36 years!) During those same decades, productivity increased by 99 percent — that is, it nearly doubled. In other words, the average worker's productivity rose 25 times more than his pay.”
She gives a detailed argument of wages and work hours over the past few decades and concludes that in order to keep the country strong, we need to raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation.
Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and is the DeseretNews.com opinion intern. Reach me at fstevenson@deseretdigital or @freemandesnews