In an editorial written by Warren Buffett for the Wall Street Journal, according to S. Kumar in his article “America’s Workers Have Bigger Problems than the Minimum Wage” for Fortune Magazine, the problems that American workers face are far more than just attaining a livable wage. The three biggest problems that Americans face include the growing power of corporations, competition against technologies, and the growing income inequality that requires specialized skills where low-wage workers may not have education or capabilities to adapt. However, the minimum wage is still a serious problem, according to Roger Lowenstein. Lowenstein writes that the minimum wage does not provide a livable wage, which is a real problem when families are trying to survive on income that is too low even for an individual. Therefore, the problem of the minimum wage is one that is in conflict with the development of corporate power, but must be solved if the gaps that exist related to income inequality are going to be narrowed.
Corporate power is on the rise. One of the first problems discussed by Kumar is that “corporations have gained a disproportionate influence over US workers”. Rather than labor rights, corporations have almost eliminated all power that labor unions once held over corporate decision-making with only 11.1% of all workers belonging to a union as of 2014. In comparison, in 1983 20% of all workers were part of the union. Labor power is in decline, and as a result Kumar states that employees can be hired and fired without cause in a system that is called employment at will. This means that employees have very little leverage in terms of demands and seeking rights and benefits that increase the value of the wor...
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...s not one that is based on economics as much as it is based on the problem of status. Raising the minimum wage to would provide a working wage to those who are suffering under the low-wage level, but it would also raise the stakes for those were working near that wage level. The case for a steady and slow rise is based on the idea that the social status related to wage must be honored as much as the actual issue of below minimum wage. In addition, with the problems related to American workers that Warren Buffett has suggested, American workers need to find a source of power and leverage through which they can gain back certain amount of position before the minimum wage will have any effect. At this point, if the minimum wage is raised there is no guarantee that prices will not raise across the board in retaliation so corporations can hold onto their power over labor.
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