For over thirty-five years, American workers’ wages have been stuck. This comes while we’ve seen tremendous growth in our country’s productivity and soaring corporate profits.
What happened? How has the middle class dissolved and childhood poverty risen while we continue to create more and more millionaires and billionaires?
The answer is simple. Our elected officials in Washington and across the country have adopted policies, written by the very wealthy, which are meant to ensure that the lions’ share of income growth continues to go to the top one percent while the rest of the country is left behind.
Thankfully, the researchers at EPI have the solution: An eleven-point policy proposal titled the “Agenda to Raise America’s Pay,” which includes raising the minimum wage, strengthening collective bargaining rights, providing earned sick leave and paid family leave, and much more.
If we want to raise workers’ wages and rebuild the middle class, we must ensure that EPI’s policy proposals are adopted by the growing field of presidential candidates.
There is now widespread agreement across the political spectrum that wage stagnation is the country’s key economic challenge, and EPI has the solution. The Washington Post called EPI’s plan, “the liberal plan to save the middle class” and went on to say:
“When presidential candidates confront complex policy challenges, they usually turn to their party’s wonks, who supply them with ideas that reflect their party’s consensus…. Today, the Economic Policy Institute-a liberal think tank …-released an eleven-point “Agenda to Raise America’s Pay,” and it’s worth paying attention to because something like it will probably become Hillary Clinton’s economic plan.”
If we as a nation want to reduce poverty, address income inequality, and rebuild our crumbling middle class, the missing ingredient is raising workers’ wages. And we need to ensure that ALL presidential candidates embrace EPI’s policies to ensure that American prosperity is broadly shared.
Whether it is providing lawmakers with the research they need to draft minimum wage legislation in Congress or supporting fast food workers in their “Fight for $15,” EPI’s research is being used by lawmakers and activists alike. But we can’t continue providing this critical research without YOU!
Together we can rebuild our crumbling middle class and lift millions of workers and their families out of poverty.
Lawrence Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute.
Photo: Detroit public schools counselor Lakia Wilson (left) and Brooklyn Papa John’s worker Shantel Walker (right). | Patrick Foote/PW