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Yesterday I discussed both global and domestic inequality, how inequality is growing, and where our country ranks in income and wealth inequality–extremely poorly.

Borrowing again from Kathleen Geier‘s new article, but also relying on older research we know some of the ways to reduce inequality, and at the same time, strengthen our economy and our country.

Globally and domestically, we need government and global institutional intervention in labor markets. We need powerful global encouragement for stronger labor unions and the absolute right of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively. The rise in inequality in the US directly tracks the government and corporate assault on unions. The best defense of democracy are organized workers. Strong unions are the best and most organic way to build the middle class and more fairly distribute the wealth of any nation.

In the US we need to double the minimum wage and tie it to the cost of living so we can end this stupid debate. If you work in the US, you should be able to make a living! Period! It is immoral and unconscionable to have a permanent underclass who cannot ever make a decent living trapped in poverty level jobs. Also, raising the minimum wage would lift all wages, stimulate the economy with robust and widespread consumer demand, and give some stability to families and the economy.

We need to reinstate a progressive income tax starting with capital gains–income received from investment and lifting the Medicare tax cap. We could easily secure and enhance Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

We need massive investment in public education. The schools in progressive states and counties that invest in education are the best in the country.

Globally, we need fair trade that requires fair wages and the right to unionize. We need to forgive debts. And we need robust and well-funded non-governmental organizations that can circumvent corrupt governments and get international aid directly and quickly to those who need it.

Photo source: bogieharmond on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (0+ / 0-)


    by StewartAcuff on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:30:31 AM PST

  •  Stewart - there is no Medicare tax cap (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, FG, StewartAcuff

    and it addition investment income was added on 1/1/13. You might want to edit your diary.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:59:04 AM PST

  •  Globally, we need to heed Kofi Annan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, StewartAcuff

    on the possibilities for technology to help the poorest people in the poorest nations to leapfrog the long development process of the rich countries, and go straight to the information economy. The minimum requirement for doing so is to get every child in the world, about a billion at a time, online via computer, and to provide all of the necessary learning tools at no further cost, in Free Software, in Creative Commons and Open Educational Resource content that permits adaptation and translation under the same Free licenses. The world needs billions more mobile phones, also.

    This requires enough electricity and bandwidth to support a billion children at a time, and all of their friends and neighbors. The developing world has vast untapped renewable energy potential in wind, hydro, solar, biofuels, and some other possibilities.

    The idea is that qualifying the children of subsistence farmers and factory wage slaves for real jobs and even entrepreneurship, and enabling them to get together and organize, will cause far more rapid economic growth and start to tackle corruption and oppression everywhere.

    I worked out the basic numbers. Priming the pump with some tens of billions of dollars annually would result, within two generations, in many tens of trillions of dollars in new economic activity and in tax revenue sufficient to pay off external debts and provide necessary services, with vast savings on the militaries of the world and on losses to high-level theft and other shenanigans by well-connected post-colonial elites. The Return on Investment is higher than any legitimate private sector opportunity.

    This is the mission of One Laptop Per Child, which has supplied computers, software and content to several million children so far, with many more on the way. All of Rwanda's schoolchildren, for example, powered by a new Chinese-built hydropower dam, and with the first fiber optic cable into the interior of Africa.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:03:38 AM PST

  •  Do a lot more with what already exists. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Oh Mary Oh, StewartAcuff

    I volunteered for multiple years at the Center For Economic Progress.  One of their programs is to assist people to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Governor Quinn stopped by Truman College where volunteers with the Center for Economic Progress are helping low-income tax payers to file their returns.

    Quinn said 10-20 percent of eligible people are not taking advantage of the state’s earned income tax credit.

    “It is puzzling because this is money back, oftentimes thousands of dollars that you are entitled to a refund from the federal government and the state government and folks don’t know how to apply,” said Quinn.

    Find those people.  This doesn't require any new legislation, just better social information.

    There are similar programs with even worse participation rates.

    Unfortunately, many eligible taxpayers don't take advantage of this break because they don't know about it. Indeed, a recent survey* shows that only 12% of American workers with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 are aware of the Savers Credit.
    Find those people.  This doesn't require any new legislation, just better social information.

    When you don't use the tools you have, you have to wonder why you need new tools.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:25:42 AM PST

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