We've heard so often and for so long about wage stagnation that you'd think the data underlying the claim that workers haven't gotten a raise since the 1970s are widely agreed upon, but they're not. In a working paper published this week by the National Bureau of Economics, Dartmouth University's Bruce Sacerdote points out that when using alternative measures of inflation, income growth among middle and lower class Americans looks much more robust than media reports claim.

Expand chart

Data: National Bureau of Economic Research; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The results: It's impossible to measure real income growth without an accurate measure of inflation, but accurately measuring inflation is difficult and is a major point of disagreement among economists. Sacerdote uses an alternative measure of inflation that shows median wages have grown by 1% per year between 1975 and 2015.

Why it matters: Free market advocates argued for years that rising income inequality and wage stagnation wasn't actually a problem, but now even the Republican Party uses slow wage growth as a talking point. But free market policies are an awkward fit for an economy that is suffering from runaway growth in income inequality and stagnant worker pay. Those who want to shrink government and income redistribution may want to take another look at research like Sacerdote's.

Go deeper

Trump casts himself as chief defender of American history in divisive speech at Rushmore

President Trump spoke out against a "merciless campaign" to wipe out American history during a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Why it matters: Trump's "dark and divisive" speech comes as states continue to hit new coronavirus records and a national reckoning against racial inequities pushes forward, The New York Times writes. Trump's public approval is faltering heading toward the November elections, and he made an appeal to his base at Friday's spectacle, per The Washington Post.

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Drive-in movie theaters, the symbol of a bygone era before cellphones and constant distraction, are suddenly reemerging as a popular form of entertainment during the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: Indoor movie theaters are closed, but people still crave entertainment and a chance to get out of their houses. Watching a movie from the safety of a car is the next best thing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 a.m. ET: 11,093,182 — Total deaths: 525,491 — Total recoveries — 5,890,052Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 a.m. ET: 2,795,163 — Total deaths: 129,437 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.