Work and Reward: The Great Disconnect

In LABOR -- articles only, New York Times Editorial On

As workers lose ground, inequality deepens, because money that would flow to wages tends to flow instead to those at the top of the income ladder. Indeed, the researchers found that incomes of younger workers entering the labor market are more unequal than in the past, suggesting that inequality in lifetime incomes will persist and even worsen.

The study shows that stagnating wages and rising inequality are deeply entrenched. There is no cure-all, but there are policy remedies. Updated overtime pay standards would raise pay broadly in the service sector, as would closing the gender pay gap, through better disclosure of corporate pay scales, anti-discrimination legislation and litigation. Exposure of the differences between the pay of executives and the pay of workers would shed light on some unjustifiable gaps, and call into question tactics like share buybacks that reward shareholders even as workers are shortchanged.

Reasonable people can disagree on how to approach the problem. But no one can deny that a problem exists and that it demands a response.

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