in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

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

File under: income, jobs

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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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