“…Between 1947 and 1970, every income group in America experienced economic advancement.
As James K. Galbraith reminds us in Created Unequal, the 1950s and ’60s were unique because government policies—
- social as well as economic —
- provided a firm foundation for the gains experienced by families across the board.
Lower-wage workers benefited from a wide range of protections – including steady increases in the minimum wage – and the government made full employment a high priority.
There was also a strong union movement that ensured higher wages and more nonwage benefits for ordinary workers.
But by the ’80s, the trends for lower-wage workers had been reversed.
Families in the higher income groups — the top 20 percent—continued to enjoy steady income gains – adjusted for inflation -
- while families in the lower income brackets experienced stagnating or declining incomes…”
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