The gap between the lower third and top two thirds of labor market income remains wide; the median lower-third income in 2014 was $24,000 while the top two-third median was $90,000. A new paper explains that this income gap is mainly attributable to the work gap with lower-income men and women experiencing declining or flatlining work rates, respectively.

The political left and right see differing causes but agree on one common factor, education:

Many on the left point to problems like low pay and lack of access to affordable childcare, and so favor a higher minimum wage and more subsidies for daycare. For many conservatives, the problem is rooted in family breakdown and a dependency-inducing safety net. They therefore champion proposals like marriage promotion programs and strict work requirements for public benefits. Most agree about the importance of education.

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