This historical amnesia is a dangerous mistake. It poisons our hearts with pessimism. It blinds us to the lessons and solutions we need. Most New Yorkers have no idea how prevalent poverty used to be -- or how their predecessors made it go away.
Why wouldn't teachers stand up to abusive corporations that reap windfall profits while providing poverty-level jobs for students and their families?
Rather than lamenting the "challenging" and "disappointing" retail environment, Walmart could boldly move to reshape it. The key step? Raising the company's notoriously low wages.
Conservatives love incentives. Let's pay a top executive 1800 times what a worker makes... because incentives! Let's tax capital gains at half the rate we tax worker's pay... because incentives!
In accepting the gross income inequality, obscene wealth gap, inexcusable corporate excesses, and blatant political corruption that we do today, we are already laying the groundwork for a real-world Elysium.
These days, when I say "federal contractor," you think Snowden. And it turns there are lots of them doing highly classified work for which they are handsomely paid. They are not the folks we're talking about here.
Ensuring there's an even playing field for the employees and bosses to freely negotiate as equals is the definition of a free market, in which no one entity has an inherent advantage over any other party.
The economic arguments against moderate increases in the minimum wage lack robust empirical support. Most importantly, the majority of studies looking for the job-loss effects that opponents assert will be large enough to offset the benefits to low-wage workers come up short.
If we broaden our discussions about how American family policies support children, we will find ourselves in dialogue about family leave, sick leave and vacation time. We'll examine the adequacy of minimum wage. We'll have realistic discussions about public welfare programs.
Some years ago, when my daughter was maybe 8 years old, she took part in a social services workshop at religious school. I was one of the moms lurking in the background while another woman ran the show.
Speaking to power through song was a common practice among the prophets of Israel. In Isaiah 5:1-5, the prophet who writes switches to the role of ballad-singer, introducing his listeners to a song titled "My Dearest Friend's Vineyard."
Last month, McDonald's gave its workers a little gift -- a budget purporting to show how to survive on the starvation wages the burger behemoth pays. The bizarre financial plan made millionaire McDonald's CEO Don Thompson look like a real clown.
When opponents talk about who's earning the minimum wage, they're often referring to the demographics of those at today's minimum. But that's not the relevant sample when you're evaluating a proposed increase in the wage floor.
The fact that we must still advocate for the minimum wage, progressive taxation, unions and Social Security -- programs taken for granted decades ago - indicates how barbaric our society has become. That is why raising the minimum wage is the only moral option available to us today.
What started out last fall as a one-day walkout at fast-food restaurants to protest poverty-level wages and stand up for basic human dignity has transformed into a movement that has captured the public interest.
Fast food workers are taking to the streets to demand better pay. They're asking for a wage of $15 an hour. Is this a fair wage? Is it a "living wage"? The demands of fast food workers have caused many people to think about the meaning of a fair day's wage for a fair day's work.