NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On Thursday, Aug. 29, fast-food chain workers conducted strikes in nearly 60 cities asking that chains like McDonalds (MCD), Burger King (BKW), Wendy's (WEN) and Yum Brands (YUM) (which holds KFC and Taco Bell) boost their minimum hourly pay to $15/hour.
Meanwhile, the saga between Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report) and the D.C. City Council continues with Mayor Gray having 10 days from Aug. 30 to sign or veto legislation which requires Walmart to pay a minimum wage of $12.50/hour while other employers are only required to pay the D.C. minimum wage of $8.25/hour.
The Income Gap
In 1980, wage earnings as a percent of Gross Domestic Income (GDI, the sister concept to GDP) were 49%. In the last GDI report, they were closer to 42%. Meanwhile, corporate profits are up 50% from about 8% of GDI in 1980 to about 12% today. There is no doubt that the income gap between the rich and the middle class is growing.
The Slide in GDP Growth
The accompanying table shows the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of real GDP (as "officially" measured) from the bottom of each of the last four recessions to the following peak.It is notable that the CAGR of real GDP in today's recovery (2.23%) is about half the pace of the recovery from the recession of the early '80s. Note that in each subsequent cycle since 1982, GDP's CAGR has slid more than 50 basis points.