Next Tuesday, we will finally get some degree of parity in the world of televised presidential debates, as the Democrats come together for the first time to make their case to the American public.
While presidential candidates, economists and commentators debate how to address America's low-wage crisis, one important question has been overlooked: What do the tens of millions of Americans paid less than $15 an hour -- the "42 percent" -- think about how to rebuild America's economy?
Hurricane Joaquin is approaching the East Coast, but a different type of storm altogether already made landfall on our cities from coast to coast, creating record levels of income inequality and wage stagnation for the vast majority of citizens.
Republicans and the rich guys who imposed 35 years of stagnant wages on American workers now offer a prescription for easing this pain! More free stuff for corporations!
Business has the most to gain from a healthy America, and the most to lose by social unrest or punitive taxation. Business can start the process in two steps.
In a speech last week, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen inadvertently told us why Congress should set a 4 percent unemployment target for the Fed in its conduct of monetary policy, as is proposed in a new bill put forward by Michigan Representative John Conyers. The context was Yellen's dismissal of such a target. Certainly the Federal Reserve Board cannot just pick any number and say it will get the unemployment rate to that level. There are limits posed by the economy that can prevent the Fed from hitting an unemployment rate target despite its best efforts. However, this is also true of the 2.0 percent inflation target that the Fed has chosen for itself as a basis for policy over the last decade. But the fact is that the Fed cannot simply set any inflation rate it likes.
Until we agree, as a country, that the services provided by America's HHAs are worth finding the extra Medicare and Medicaid dollars to pay them what they deserve, then we will continue to suffer the negative consequences of piecemeal measures--however well-intended they may be.
Some commentators were surprised to hear this coming from the Republican debate stage. And that's too bad. The media continues to falsely paint the minimum wage as a strictly partisan issue--and it's a gross misrepresentation.
If you have a wife and a kid (or should those things be denied to people?) how do you house, clothe and feed them while saving for college and retirement? And remember - $15/hr is DOUBLE what millions of people are actually making under the current rules.
For workers like me, $15 an hour means being able to feed my family without worrying that we're taking money we need for the gas or water bill or for bus passes. It means being able to see my kids grow up. It means real change in our lives.
Wages are rising, finally, and prices are not--a rare confluence in recent decades. American workers need this to continue as long as possible. So do their bosses, in fact, because workers are the consumers that drive economic growth and thus corporate profits.
Many philanthropists and foundations have recently been making impact investments in an attempt to influence social policy. But are these investments producing dividends toward social change?
As for issues like paid family leave and keeping Social Security intact that would make the lives of women better, Carly Fiorina's campaign statements are resoundingly silent.
We live in an age of remarkable progress in so many parts of our lives. As an immigrant, that progress reminds me of why my family came here. It is inspiring. Yet in those parts of our lives that matter most, we seem stuck. That is why so many Americans have lost faith in better days.
Which cities have the highest minimum wage in terms of purchasing power (that is, adjusted for the cost of living)? And, conversely, where does this "real" minimum wage fall short?
What we are looking at is a middle class that is dying, literally, and a party that supposedly represents them holding their head under water. As long as the GOP fights middle class progress they will have a difficult time reaching the votes they need outside of rural areas and winning the presidency.