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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Raise the poverty line, implement protectionist tariffs, and institute employee representation in corporate decision making

File under: job creation, poverty line, basic budget, employee representation, tariffs, manufacturing, industrial policy, technology, jobs, taxes, welfare

0 (0 votes)

From: Keith A., , IL

High poverty and high unemployment aren't an anomaly. They're the natural state of affairs in a backward economy. In the United States, they're a warning sign that our economy is regressing. This isn't a recession -- it's a regression.

Without a basic standard of living, people lack the security, flexibility and opportunity to make good long-term economic decisions. Therefore, redefine the poverty line to account for increases in the costs of housing, transportation, health care and child care (read more here), and distribute the benefits of entitlement programs accordingly. Pay for them with a steeper marginal tax rate on luxury-level income (60 percent on income over $175,000 a year for single filers, $300,000 a year for joint filers).

But transfer payments alone are a drag on the economy. Therefore, put in place an aggressive national industrial policy focused on two things: advanced technology (especially in nano and green energy) and domestic production of goods for domestic consumption. If we can't compete head-to-head with slave-labor wages in China and other nations, then we have to accept the necessity of temporary protectionist tariffs as a defensive measure while our productive capacity regenerates.

Finally, amend corporate law to require German-style employee representation in corporate governance, to ensure that companies are run with the interests of all stakeholders in mind, not just to maximize profit for stockholders and executives. This should result in fairer employee compensation as well as more reinvestment of earnings in research and development.


Comments:

Keith A.
From , IL

Two addenda: There is so much work in this country that needs to be done, and so many people who need work, the obvious problem is figuring out how to pay the latter to do the former. This is where a WPA-style work program would be extremely useful in the short term, especially considering the deplorable state of our national transportation and utility infrastructure. Also, the single biggest roadblock against job creation right now is big banks' unwillingness to lend money to small businesses and startups. Therefore, either the Federal Reserve or a public-private small-commercial bank should lend directly to these businesses so that they can create the jobs we need. Capitalism has a major role to play in our recovery, but our biggest capitalists are refusing to cooperate. Cut them out of the deal.


American RadioWorks |
Kids playing video games. Photo: sean dreilinger via Flickr.

Learning from Video Games

A lot of parents worry about whether their kids' video game habits are harmful - especially when gaming gets in the way of homework or reading. But writer Greg Toppo says gaming can be a great way to learn.

Recent Posts

  • 06.17.15

    Teaching the Birds and the Bees

    For more than a century, Americans have been arguing about how to teach children about the birds and the bees in public schools. A new book argues that for all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it.
  • 06.11.15

    What can Japan teach us about teaching?

    Coming up this fall we'll be releasing a documentary about teacher preparation - how people learn to become teachers and how they get better once they're in the classroom. This week: how do Japanese teachers learn to improve on the job?
  • 06.02.15

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    When Nancie Atwell was growing up, she never thought she’d go to college, let alone become an award-winning teacher. But a few months ago, Atwell received a $1-million-dollar global prize for her decades of teaching English and literacy skills to elementary and middle schoolers.
  • 05.28.15

    Divestment on Campus

    Across the world, college students are urging their institutions to “divest” from fossil fuels. This week we ask: is the divestment movement working?