If U.S. companies needed more evidence that scrutiny of wages is intensifying, they heard it last week in Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powells testimony to Congress.
The subject came up several times. One memorable exchange was with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. He asked Powell whether the Feds employment mandate is just to ensure that people are employed or whether full employment implies something more, that workers earn a salary and benefits that let them fully participate in the 2019 economy and our country.
Powell dodged the question, instead reminding Brown that U.S. unemployment is at a 50-year low and that the Fed lacks the tools to affect every social problem. Its true that the Feds mandate is to maximize employment, not wages, and that the Fed probably cant raise wages, even if it wanted to.
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