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economic justice

Proposed progressive economic justice platform

I wrote this for the Nader Oregon email list. I was trying to come up with a bullet points platform that could be used on posters and flyers. Feedback is welcome.
Economic justice for all

One in four workers - 30 million Americans - make poverty level wages.
Millions more don't make enough to support a family.

* Raise the federal minimum wage to $9.04 per hour, the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four. Index it to inflation so that it goes up as prices rise.

* Take all taxpayers who make less than $18,800 per year, FPL for a family of four, off the federal tax roles.

* Universal government paid health care - like all the other industrial democracies have.

* Repeal Bush's middle and upper class tax cuts. Use the money to finance health care and tax cuts for low wage workers.

* Repeal federal laws that make it difficult to organize unions. Enforce pro-union laws against employers who break them.

* Define a "temporary" job as not more than 3 months. Require same benefits for temps as are given to permanent workers.

* Make all workers eligible for unemployment insurance. Extend unemployment benefits to match the period that workers are typically unemployed.

* Restore job stability. Require employment of at least one year after hiring before "permanent" employees can be laid off.

* Restore "safety net" programs - welfare, unemployment, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, low-income housing, etc. - that have been cut by both Republicans and Democrats. Repeal the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.

* Free college education or job training for all who need it.

* Regulate corporations to reduce their power and keep them from cheating people.

* Fair trade not "free" trade. Repeal NAFTA. Abolish tax credits that encourage sending U.S. jobs to other countries.

* Cut the military budget to free up money for human needs. No more wars except in self-defense. Get U.S. out of Iraq.

* Raise minimum Social Security payments to a level that people can survive on. Reduce full Social Security retirement age back to 65.

* Require higher wages for part-time work to discourage it. Most people cannot live on part-time wages.

* Fully fund programs to build affordable housing for low-income people.

* Everyone is entitled to enough income to cover basic necessities. For those who cannot find jobs, provide government jobs or a subsistence level government payment.
my $5,000 comment 27.May.2004 16:30

hey, it's more than 50 cents

* Raise the federal minimum wage to $9.04 per hour, the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four. Index it to inflation so that it goes up as prices rise.

Make it $16 an hour. Anyone who makes over $110,000 a year can vouch that the money's there and the institutions to support $16/hour are there or can be established in due time.


* Universal government paid health care - like all the other industrial democracies have.

Sorry, too many 500lb. gorilla insurance companies here at the moment. It has to be a joint plan between public entities ( government ) and private enterprises. VA hospitals do this frequently when figuring out what medical supplies they need and can get.


* Repeal federal laws that make it difficult to organize unions. Enforce pro-union laws against employers who break them.

Redact ( scale back ) unions and corporations. They promote trickle down, integrated revenue-only, reductionist thinking. We need food, sustainability in commerce and new opportunities, not more of the same crap that's proven not to work / works only to a limited extent.


* Free college education or job training for all who need it.

Nothing's free to accountants. I say we need college with fully transparent expenditures for all who ask for it, especially those who participate in work study, do cooperative work experience and volunteer in their community.


* Regulate corporations to reduce their power and keep them from cheating people.

Redact most corporate models. We have to use them because they're there and the capitalists won't embrace much else, yet simultaneously we have to move in a progressive direction, away from the white man's "I own everything" type of thinking.


* Require higher wages for part-time work to discourage it. Most people cannot live on part-time wages.

Stop assessing cost of living and part/full time work solely on number of hours. That's a corporate invention meant to keep people down and has never been accurate. We need to base our income on what we do, how well other people independently rate us and how well we do the job.

willamette

$5,000 27.May.2004 16:57

Lynn Porter

Thanks for your response. We can agree to disagree about unions.

About the minimum wage: I choose the FPL mainly for symbolic reasons. Who could be against people making the Federal Poverty Level? I agree that it isn't nearly enough to actually support a family of four. That probably takes around around $15 per hour full-time. Still, for political reasons, I would stick with the $9.04, which is about $2 more per hour than the present Oregon minimum wage of $7.05. I've read that if the minimum wage of the late 60s had been kept the same, allowing for inflation, it would now be around $10 per hour.

$9.04 would set a much better income floor, and possibly have the effect of pushing up wages of those who make more than that. It would be a big help to poor people, the lower end of the working class. We need unions, living-wage campaigns (local governments pay a living wage to their employees and require it for contractor employees), reducing the power of corporations and the other things I proposed to raise wages for all of the working class. This would greatly reduce income inequality in the U.S., which is slowly strangling our economy, politics and sense of social justice.