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Even though the economy is adding more jobs, there's increasing evidence that many of those new positions don't offer the kind of wages and benefits required to get ahead. Americans are working but aren't earning enough to gain economic stability.
The China-esqsue income for the general labor pool might not spark a backlash against the Chinese, Washington's favorite punching bag. Instead, it will favor future political backlashes against globalization and the corporations seen driving up inequality -- and driving down mobility -- because of it.
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Victoria Stilwell, Peter Robison & William Selway
Washington raised the minimum wage in 1998 linking it to inflation. In the 15 years that followed, the state's minimum wage climbed to $9.32 - highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington's restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent.
Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years
From Silicon Valley, the Rocketship chain of charter schools is hoping to expand across the country. It’s backed by some of the biggest names in the tech world and claims high test scores. But what are these schools preparing kids for? And what are the real costs of Rocketship's low-cost model?
"The people at the bottom are going to be continually squeezed, and I don't see this ending anytime soon," said Harvard economist Richard Freeman. "If the economy were growing enough or unions were stronger, it would be possible for the less educated to do better and for the lower income to improve. But in our current world, where we are still adjusting to globalization, that is not very likely to happen."