Read David Wessel's 'Wall Street Journal' column:
Not all Americans have benefited equally from the strength of the U.S. economy over the past decade. The chief executives of United Healthcare and the New York Stock Exchange, for instance, did a lot better than most — and have been in the headlines as a result. Steve Inskeep discusses income disparity with David Wessel, deputy Washington bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.
Last year, the average CEO made about 370 times what the average worker did, Wessel notes. Other winners include hedge-fund managers, baseball players and rock stars.
Meanwhile, the median worker's pay has barely kept up with inflation, Wessel says. The biggest losers in the income race include people who are unskilled or those who didn't complete high school, he says.
"There's a big pool, a big supply of workers, who don't have the skills that are now required to get a middle-class wage in our economy," Wessel says.
Low-skilled workers are facing competition from immigrants, imports and outsourced jobs in places like India and China, "or you may, in fact, have a job that's about to be automated out of existence," Wessel says. "And all these things have reduced the demand for your labor. And as we know, when demand goes down, so do wages."