Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, summarizes the 6 things that are needed to boost American labor and to increase wages. He does this in just over two and have managed to do so in a more concise manner than all the nonsense presented on the business channels.
It is acknowledged that while jobs are coming back now that the Great Recession is in remission, these jobs are coming back at much lower wages. So here are the six things needed to boost wages according to Professor Reich.
#1 A Living Wage
Reich acknowledges that no one can live on the current minimum wage and that had it kept up with inflation, it would be north of $10.00 per hour. The reality is that wages in this country should be indexed to inflation. Absent that, workers are exploited as time progresses. Nobel Prize winning Paul Krugman has already dispelled the fallacy that an increased minimum wage is bad economic policy.
#2 Larger Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Reich acknowledges that this is a wage subsidy for low wage workers. He justifies this by contrasting it to tax breaks giving to hedge funds managers and Wall Street tax breaks by saying they do not need the breaks, low wage workers do. This justification for requesting what is morally correct is unnecessary. There is an aberration in Capitalism where those that manipulate capital and produce no useful product or service for society are compensated at orders of magnitude more than the average hard working American. Wage subsidies mitigate this.
Reich says we must have universal affordable childcare so low wage workers don’t have to pay a sizeable portion of low wages to other low wage workers. This is an interim solution since in an ideal world the working environment should migrate to one where parenthood is integral in such a manner that children receive care for a substantial amount of time from their parents. This would eliminate many of the societal problems that are a result of latch door kids and kids without appropriate child supervision.
#4 Good Schools
Good Schools and access to college or advanced technical skills are needed to allow for the upward mobility of every American.
#5 Health Insurance
No society can be considered civilized without real universal healthcare for all of its citizens. When a health incident can be causal in the success or failure of one’s future, it tells much about the failure of said healthcare system. Moreover when many depend on their employment for healthcare coverage, this makes them a slave to the corporations in many cases thus stifling innovation that could further the country’s economy and the individual’s incremental financial success. Reich correctly points out that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is a good start but that much more is needed to realize a real universal healthcare system.
#6 Union Rights
Reich correctly states that Americans need the right to form a union without being sacked for trying. Businesses have always had unions, though they don’t call them that, to lobby the government for them and to mislead the average American citizen for them. No one must forget that the Chamber of Commerce and other trade organizations are nothing but unions of businesses by another name. The only leverage an American work has absent just quitting the workplace is to join together to demand their portion of the American pie. For too long it has been going to those that have produced the least which has caused America’s immoral wealth and income inequality.
Missing from the narrative however is the recovery of ill gotten gains from those that have played the system. While much of this pilfering was done within the constructs of the laws that were produced by corrupt politicians, these ill gotten gains must be recovered through diligent tax policies