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Time for a living wage

Posted by Tom Ellis - 2017-12-19 16:27:04


Most, left and right, would agree that the lack of quality jobs is a significant issue of our times.  It is a concern for those in wealthy suburbs who have children looking for jobs, it is especially an issue in our inner cities.

Many of the jobs available are low paying jobs.  So, what is the plan for all of those people that work 40 hours a week and more and don't earn life sustaining wages?  We are a country with a middle class under siege, a middle class that buys goods and services that drives our economy.


What if collectively we agreed that anyone working 40 hours or more a week is contributing, and they deserve a life sustaining wage?  With jobs earning a living wage, they would be better employees and parents.  They would spend their incomes and drive economic growth.   What, if rather than taking taxes out of lower wage earners salaries, we gave them earned tax credits?  They would get add-backs to their take home pay on the lines of their pay stubs that are for taking money away.  We wouldn't create any new government jobs, the people collecting taxes would give taxes back.


This would require a rethinking of taxes and what it means to contribute.  We are at the 50 year anniversary of the Civil Rights riots, born out of frustration about lack of opportunity and jobs.  Things are worse now.


Maybe it is time we start to think about how we think about the working poor?  And maybe the political party of the future is one that talks about creating real incentives for people to work --- like a living wage.