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Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that's not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Pay living wages for ALL work (and institue a jobs program)

File under: income, jobs

0 (0 votes)

From: Nicholas B., Chevy Chase, MD

First, the short term. We have very high levels of unemployment, which will put many more people into poverty or serious financial uncertainty. If we let the private sector take its time to recover, we may have unemployment this high for years; economic forecasts show very slow growth in the next two years. There is a demand gap. A stimulus by the government, that would hopefully be focused on jobs, would do a great deal over the short term to boost demand and bring unemployment back down to pre-crisis levels. That is a very doable fix to help fight poverty, here and now.

Over the long term, most people in poverty do work, but they are paid such menial wages. Wages for the working class over the last 30 years have stagnated, while inequality grows. I believe in a living wage for doing one's life work. An egregious example is a mother's work of rearing children, which goes unpaid. There are estimates that rearing a child is worth tens of thousands of dollars a year, but stay at home parents are paid nothing. Think of the contributions to society they make. Many single parents must also work paying jobs as well as raise children, and I believe in a country as wealthy as ours, we should be able to provide enough of a safety net to ensure financial stability for struggling families. Perhaps a more progressive taxation system would allow for a more robust social safety net.


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American RadioWorks |
Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that's not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.