Earlier this week, President Obama signed two executive orders addressing income inequality experienced by women and minorities. The new regulations allow employees to discuss their pay without fear of retribution and also requires employers to submit salary data according to gender and race.
While equal pay activists can count Obama’s executive order as a small victory, the same regulations do not apply to the private sector. However, the Senate is set to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act which would extend many of the same regulations to the entire nation. This vote is especially contentious, especially since the same bill has failed twice before in the past, in 2009 and 2012.
52% believe income inequality is the world’s greatest risk/21% think governments should provide minimum income
Regardless of the outcome of the vote, here are three major reasons the government needs to seriously address equal pay and income inequality.
Income Inequality is a Global Epidemic
Income inequality isn’t just another buzzword— the World Economic Forum at Davos listed income inequality one of the world’s greatest risks, and 52 percent of the 1World Community think income inequality is the world’s greatest risk. (Link to Poll) While the Paycheck Fairness Act may not solve global poverty, the data it would provide could paint the hidden portrait of unconscious systemic inequality.
Minimum Wage isn’t A Living Wage
Many people who work full time on minimum wage require government assistance to make ends meet from month-to-month. The paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle isn’t reserved for unmotivated, underperforming workers either. The government paid out $76 billion dollars in Food Stamps alone last year, but that number could be drastically reduced if people earned a true living wage.
When 1World asked if the minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour, voters were evenly split on the issue with 49 percent agreeing the increase should be implemented.
Government Interference Hinders Small Businesses
While large corporations continue to expand their presence across the globe, small businesses are the backbone of most national economies. Despite the importance of small business owners, very few regulations are made to support the success of small businesses. Since only 36% of the 1World Community think the government helps businesses, a lot of progress needs to be made in order to revitalize the American Dream.
Government interference in business is not an issue limited to the United States, as you will see from 1World Expert Andrey Kholodnyy’s experience in Russia:
“The State essentially works for large companies (and sometimes even acts as a co-owner), and deters small companies from developing. Under the current model, half of the nation’s economy is powered by a few dozen huge companies and another 25% by those companies’ subsidiaries. Thus, if your business is not connected to these monsters, it is in serious jeopardy.”
How do you feel about the issue of income inequality? Voice your opinion below.