Enact Economic Justice

Enact Economic Justice

Three years ago, nine individual Americans had a net worth equivalent to that of the poorest half of Americans. Today, only three individuals own as much as that nine did. This is not only obscene and immoral–it is absolutely unsustainable. Wealth inequality in America threatens the stability of the country and wastes resources vital to combating the global threat of climate change. We need to question if unregulated capitalism is the best option available for a world in crisis.

Living Wages for All

Americans need wages that allow them to live in the communities in which they work. One full time job should provide all that’s necessary to stay afloat. Calculation of a living wage ought to be pegged to inflation and dependent on living costs in the local economy. No one who works a full-time job should be without basic housing, food, and clothing. If the minimum wage hasn’t increased, yet productivity has, where does all the money go? To ever larger profits for an ever smaller set of folks at the top. It is time to look up.

Strengthen and Protect Unions

Unions provided the 40-hour work week, living wages, and benefits such as vacation days and sick pay. We need to protect unions and strengthen the ability of workers to form them. Card check or the majority sign-up method is one way to do this. In addition, we must combat so-called Right to Work legislation and overturn the Janus decision. We need to protect and strengthen unions, these organizations who’ve combated the avarice of plutocrats in order to protect workers from abuse.

End Corporate Welfare

If corporations want capitalism, they cannot also have subsidies and welfare. There is no reason for taxpayers to use their hard-earned income to provide subsidies to corporations who don’t even pay their own taxes. Without reprieve, taxpayers have bailed out automakers, banks, and investment houses. The money that’s been spent on corporate welfare should be reallocated to those who need it–the people. Along the same lines, we need to end corporate inversions. We shouldn’t allow corporations the protection of our laws, while letting them move their headquarters to tax-haven countries.

Tax the Rich

We need to tax the rich, not only on income but on net worth. We need to ensure that they pay their fair share in order to benefit our community. This will never happen as long as we continue to elect millionaires to represent us. If we continue to elect millionaires, they’ll continue to represent their own interests, and will protect the super-rich at the expense of the people. They may talk about the issues that are important to us, but in the end, they’ll give yet another tax break to the wealthy while as a nation we continue to burn trillions on wars that line the pockets of corporate interests. Enough is enough.

Strengthen Bank Regulations

The Glass-Steagall Act was Congress’s reaction to the Great Depression of 1929. It effectively kept banks from speculating in the stock market with their customers’ deposits, thereby protecting the assets of working Americans. The act prevented banks from acting as speculators. Slowly these regulations were eroded, until the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 completely crippled them. The 2007 subprime mortgage crisis was a direct result of that deregulation. We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the big banks. Additionally, we need to adopt Basel III, the global, voluntary regulatory framework, in order to strengthen capital requirements for banks.

Maximum Wage

In an age of unregulated capitalism, we should have a maximum wage as well as a minimum wage. No CEO should have a net value above 100 times that of their company’s lowest paid employee. We should implement a maximum wage that is set at 100 times the lowest wage paid in an organization. In a nation where $15/hour is the minimum, the maximum wage would be $1,500/hour or $3.12 million a year. If the top earner in a company wants to make $10 million per year, that company may choose to pay their lowest earner $100,000 per year, or roughly $48/hour. This system guarantees a living wage for everyone.