Querulous Question #1

All the brouhaha about financial game playing and our perilous financial system has brought a question to my mind:  why do we talk about wages with percentages?


If someone, A, making $20,000. gets a 5% raise, that’s $1000.00 dollars and they now make


If someone, B, making $200,000. gets the same percentage, 5%, they get $10,000, and now make


Both get 5%, which sounds equal, but, in fact, A got 10% of what B got, and B got %1000 of what A received, or half of A’s salary.

In plain language,

B received $9000. more than A.

So a year later they each get a 5% raise again.

A started at $21,000. this time and got $1050. which gave A a total of


B started at $210,000. this time and got $10,500. which gave B


This time

B received $9,450. more than A,

that is, at the same percentage rate,

the actual difference in money increases by $450.

and each time they get another 5% raise, the difference will increase.

The rich get richer, faster.

Here’s my refined Querulous Question #1:

Why do we use percentages to talk about wage increases when that only increases the disparity every time? B gets increasingly more than A, so the difference between their wages keeps increasing. Why don’t we just say what the actual numbers are?

I’d really like to know if it’s just habit and convenience or if there’s an actual, communication-based reason for this.

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