Another economist, David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, is skeptical that new policies are needed to ensure a decent living for workers. Programs like the earned-income tax credit, which supplements the earnings of low-wage workers, just need to be made more generous, he said. “I’m not sure we are missing the tools,” he said. “Rather, we have been too stingy with the tools we have.” Dr. Neumark notes that the idea of government intervention to help working Americans is gaining traction even on the political right.

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