Wall Street bonuses vs. U.S. minimum wages

income-inequality-2.0A study by the Institute for Policy Studies indicates that the total amount of bonuses—not salary, but just bonuses—paid to 168,000 employees of Wall Street financial firms in 2014 was more than double the total income of 1 million Americans who worked full time at minimum wage.

The $28.5 billion paid in bonuses would be more than enough to raise wages of tens of millions of American workers to $15 an hour, the IPI said.

The function of Wall Street investment banks is to find worthwhile companies and provide them with the capital they need to thrive and grow.  Doing this job well would be important, but most Wall Street activity is devoted to repackaging existing investments and selling them.   A recent study says that only a quarter of Wall Street revenue comes from investment in the real economy.

So arguably the 1 million minimum-wage workers create more value than the wealthy Wall Streeters.  At least they don’t create speculative bubbles that crash the economy.


Off the Deep End: the Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers by Sarah Anderson for the Institute for Policy Studies.

All You Need to Know About Income Inequality in One Comparison by Justin Wolfers for the New York Times.

How Does Wall Street Work?  Only One-Quarter of Investment Bank Revenue Comes From Activity in the Real Economy by Owen Davis for International Business Times.


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One Response to “Wall Street bonuses vs. U.S. minimum wages”

  1. Income Inequality | New NY 23rd Says:

    […] https://philebersole.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/wall-street-bonuses-vs-minimum-wages/ […]


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