The federal minimum wage in the United States has not risen since 2009. It was set at $7.25 an hour that year, and remains so today in 2022. Wall Street bonuses, on the other hand, have risen steadily. And now a report from Inequality.org shows that if the federal minimum wage rate increased at the rate of the bonuses traders get, the starting wage for Americans would be set at $61.75.
In 2021, the average Wall Street bonus was a staggering $257,500–that’s on top of their annual salary, according to New York State Comptroller bonus data. But back in 1985, the average Wall Street bonus was “just” $13,970 (non-inflation adjusted). That means Wall Street bonuses have increased 1,743% over the last 36 years.
But the comparison gets even more depressing. The average Wall Street bonus of $257,500 in 2021 was a 20% increase from only the year before, which was well above the 7% annual inflation rate. But, the average weekly earnings for U.S workers only rose only 2% between 2020 and 2021, meaning the average worker’s earnings lost buying power.
These numbers show two failings by the government, according to Inequality.org: the failure to raise the federal minimum wage for 13 years in a row and the failure to implement provisions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that prohibit financial institutions from rewarding their traders for taking risks that are deemed inappropriate.
Unfortunately, a law that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour has been stalled in Congress for years, while inflation continues to rise at historic rates.
BREAKING: Wall Street bonuses soared 20% in 2021, nearly 5 times as much as the increase in US average weekly earnings
— Inequality.org (@inequalityorg) March 23, 2022