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The minimum wage would be $61.75 an hour if it rose at the same pace as Wall Street bonuses

Inflation continues to rise while the federal minimum wage of $7.25 has remained the same since 2009.

The minimum wage would be $61.75 an hour if it rose at the same pace as Wall Street bonuses
[Source Images: PM Images/Getty]

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.

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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.

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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.

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About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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