Ensuring that economic growth benefits hard-working Americans in the form of higher wages and rising living standards is the central economic challenge of our time. Unfortunately, wages for most workers grew exceptionally slowly between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity—which essentially measures the economy’s potential for providing rising living standards for all—rising 64 percent. In other words, most Americans, even those with college degrees, are treading water—despite working more productively (and being better educated) than ever. EPI research demonstrates that wage stagnation, weak income growth, and wealth disparities can be traced to policy decisions that have eroded the bargaining power of low- and middle-wage workers.