income

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The economic recovery seems to have picked up steam in recent months, with the unemployment rate approaching pre-recession levels and the stock market reaching all-time highs. But for many, the economic indicator that matters the most, wage growth, has remained stubbornly flat. Today, a conversation about the causes, history, and potential fixes for an economic problem that is quickly becoming a national political issue.

GUESTS:

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In his State of the Union address, President Obama lamented that women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. A new bill in New Hampshire looks to narrow that gap. However, disagreement remains about what’s behind the difference, whether it’s the choices that women make, outright discrimination, or a combination of these and other factors.

GUESTS:

The widening gulf between the rich and everyone else is a growing source of tension in America.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds the income gap is now seen as a bigger source of conflict in the U.S. than race, age or national origin. That's why some believe the issue could matter in the presidential campaign, and others worry it could warp the national debate.

Two out of three Americans now perceive strong social conflicts over the income gap — up sharply from two years ago. Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center has an idea what's behind the increase.

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Lately, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis has been crunching numbers looking at so called “personal income” growth.  That figure includes all pre-tax income:  wages, salaries, dividends, annuities, Social Security checks…everything.

And for the third quarter of 2011, the growth was rather modest.  In its media release, the Bureau of Economic Analysis noted: