Are Corporate Powers Like Amazon Keeping Wages Down?

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Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon (Reed Saxon/AP)
Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon (Reed Saxon/AP)

It's the one still-weak link in our otherwise high-performing economy: wages. They're just not growing as fast as expected given the low unemployment rate and the recent jump in GDP.

One problem may be that businesses have gotten too big and they have too much power. As Amazon dominates the online marketplace, Walmart rules the brick-and-mortar one.

Without robust competition, companies like these have less need to fight for customers or workers.

Increasingly, economic leaders are considering policies to regulate these overgrown business in order to keep American capitalism competitive.

Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Congressman Ro Khanna from California's 17th district introduced a bill, "Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies," or the "Stop BEZOS Act," aimed at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Amazon responded in a statement, saying, in part, "Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits.... Sen. Sanders claims that Amazon's median U.S. salary is $28,446 .... In fact, the median U.S. salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123."

In its nationwide search to find a new city for a second headquarters, Amazon included Boston as a top 20 finalist.


Jason Furman, professor of economics at Harvard University. He served as chief economic adviser in the Obama White House. He tweets @jasonfurman.

This segment aired on September 10, 2018.



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