Economics is a social justice issue. It is also a safety issue. In an age of decay, when the poor have nothing left to lose, the rich cower behind their high walls.
Commonsense economics comes down to these facts:
- Money doesn’t trickle down. It flows up.
- A thriving middle class, not tax cuts for the wealthy, is how you balance budgets.
- Real freedom requires economic justice.
If employees earn a living wage, they not only pay more into the treasury, they pay into the economy. When a family can afford to pay the rent or buy a house, homebuilders, hardware stores, and landlords thrive. When they can afford to eat well, grocers thrive. Workers with access to health care are more productive, and productivity helps the nation thrive.
The pillars of the economy, then, are education, healthcare, and a living wage. The first two depend on fair taxation. The latter, humans being who they are, requires regulation.
The party who touts themselves to be the party of business isn’t really. They are the party of big business. Campaign finance laws are partly to blame. If politicians take care of the billionaires by passing regressive tax laws, the billionaires take care of the politicians by contributing to their campaign war chests. But this is shortsighted logic, and it’s antidemocratic.
Income inequality is the great threat to democracy. Low taxes for the wealthy do not equal freedom for the rest of us. Taxes educate the workforce and provide access to healthcare.
Shorting education funding does not make this country richer. When education is universal, businesses have the workers they need to grow rich.
Access to healthcare fosters entrepreneurship. If the only way a person can get coverage is to work for a company that provides healthcare benefits, how many would-be entrepreneurs have no choice but to work for someone else?
When the workers earn a living wage, everyone benefits.
Too many voters believe the gaslighting legislators who tell them that cutting taxes and underfunding resources is good for the economy. They offer immigrants and minorities as scapegoats.
Immigrants aren’t holding wages down. If companies can get away with paying starving wages, too many will.
It’s time we quit debating raising the minimum wage. If workers are essential, pay them like they are.
It’s way past time we make sure that all students, no matter their zip code, get the tools they need to fulfill their American dream.
Uneven access to healthcare impacts us all.
When this country’s economy works for everyone, we will all be better off, even the wealthy behind their high walls. Maybe then the walls can come down.