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The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street has perhaps never been more glaring in the past year, when the stock market hit new records even as tens of millions of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. But it’s part of a longer-term trend, with Wall Street bonuses surging 1,217% since 1985, or about 10 times the pace for minimum wage workers during the same stretch.
If the federal minimum wage had kept up with the same growth as Wall Street bonuses, the baseline rate would be $44, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank that examines income and pay inequality. The baseline wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for more than 11 years, the longest period it’s gone without an increase since it began in 1938.
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