The report authors say the Fed, the central bank of the United States, can help reverse wage stagnation and narrow gender and racial wage gaps through its monetary policy.
Most Americans have faced wage stagnation over the last 35 years, despite there being a 64.9 percent growth in productivity during this time, according to the report. Wage growth also remained sluggish last month, with average hourly earnings increasing only 2 percent in June from one year ago.
A move by the Fed to slow the economy with an interest rate hike before "genuine full employment" is achieved will "hamper the ability of workers' wages to rise," the authors wrote.
Experts from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) argue that the U.S. economy could well afford a federal minimum wage increase to $12 an hour by 2020 -- a proposal that could impact nearly 38 million workers.
EPI researchers make their case for a $12 minimum wage in a report released Thursday, the same day the new "Raise the Wage Act" was introduced to Congress by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA,3).
Under the Raise the Wage Act, the federal hourly minimum wage would go up gradually from the current figure of $7.25 to $12 by 2020. Raise the Wage Act proponents are taking to social media Thursday afternoon for a "Twitterstorm" using the hashtags #RaiseTheWage, #12by2020 and #1FairWage.
"If you go to work and work hard for 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty in America," said U.S. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), who joined Murray and Scott in introducing the bill. "The Raise the Wage Act will increase wages for 38 million workers -- more than one in four -- and lift millions out of poverty. In Illinois alone, 1.6 million workers -- 28 percent of the state's workforce -- will see an average increase in wages of $3,200 a year. That helps families get off government support programs and give them more money to spend and put back into our economy."
Illinois gas station owners and representatives from Americans for Prosperity, the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores slammed the idea of hiking the motor fuel tax at a Thursday press conference.
The following was written by Brenna Conway, the Illinois Director for the Roosevelt Institute -- Campus Network.
On the campaign trail, Governor Bruce Rauner shared very little about how he would tackle Illinois' extreme budget crisis. His messaging told us there was a plan, that the focus would be improving the business climate of our state and resolving our overwhelming pension problem, but not how we'd achieve these goals. As we finish up his first month on the job we now have a glimpse into both that plan and his style as a chief executive. The question is, are these things that young people in Illinois can support?
It's clear that the governor has a laser-like focus on our state's fiscal problems, and with a "credible debt projection of over $9 billion for fiscal year 2016," such a focus is vitally important to getting us back on track. But his tactics thus far do not reflect they way that young people in Illinois are hoping to solve our state's problems.
EPI research associate Thomas Palley wrote the report, which also serves as a primer on the how the Federal Reserve, or the Fed, works and offers a blueprint on how to make monetary policy more "job- and wage-friendly."
Over the three decades prior to the Great Recession, Palley says the Fed, the central bank of the United States, "consistently took care of Wall Street first while not caring much about Main Street."
"Since the Great Recession, there has been some shift toward helping ordinary Americans, but even more is needed, and we fervently hope that [Fed] Chair [Janet] Yellen sees this," said Palley, who also serves as AFL-CIO's senior economic policy adviser.