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EconomicPolicyInstitute

The federal minimum wage has been eroded by decades of inaction

Seven years ago last week the federal minimum wage was raised from $6.55 to $7.25.  Since then, inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage by 10 percent.  But that’s not the worst of it. A new Economic Snapshot shows that minimum-wage workers today earn roughly 25 percent less than their counterparts did 48 years ago.

TRADE

Trump’s trade proposals fail to appropriately address currency manipulation

Donald Trump’s call for tariffs and better trade deals includes no real workable plan to end the currency manipulation that is fueling our rising trade deficit and devastating American manufacturing, argues EPI’s Robert Scott in a new policy memo. Even if Trump’s trade agenda were redesigned to help American workers, the benefits would be offset by the rest of his agenda—e.g., tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation—which is contrary to the interests of working people, Scott says.

IN THE NEWS
Reuters
Marketplace covered EPI’s new minimum-wage snapshot, noting that the federal minimum wage would be nearly $19 an hour today had it increased at the same rate as productivity since the late 1960s. | "After seven years, the minimum wage is worth a lot less" »
Reuters
In a MoneyWatch story about the federal minimum wage, EPI’s David Cooper explained that 26 states and the District of Columbia have bypassed federal inaction and raised the minimum wage in their states. | "Seven years without a raise for this group of workers" »
Reuters
CBS News cited EPI’s report on the cost of child care, writing, “in 33 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public four-year institutions.” | "Helping “satellite babies” thrive in the U.S." »
Reuters
The Atlantic covered EPI’s recent report on the gender pay gap, noting that pay data don’t cleanly capture the cultural norms and other societal forces that shape women’s career decisions. | "What Gender Pay-Gap Statistics Aren’t Capturing" »
Reuters
The Brian Lehrer Show’s Tuesday night coverage of the Democratic National Convention featured EPI’s Elise Gould on the landscape of minimum-wage and living-wage employment. The show’s website featured a link to EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, showing what families need to earn to get by in communities across the country | "Pre-convention conversation: scraping by in a rigged economy" »
Reuters
Neil Irwin of the New York Times referenced Robert Scott’s policy memo on trade and manufacturing and EPI President Lawrence Mishel’s blog post criticizing Donald Trump’s proposed trade agenda. | "What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About the Trade Deficit" »
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