Thursday, January 9, 2014

Living Wages

DECLA-F'N-RATION: I get really tired of the notion that there is a fix it button for any type of social, political, or systemic problem. We have major social and economic upheavals happening in this country, and we need to give them time to work out the kinks and pass them uniformly across the country. History is replete with stories of major socio-economical changes ...and NONE of them happened overnight.
  • When slavery was abolished, it took several intermediate steps, segregation, Jim Crow laws, until we had some semblance of equal treatment in the eyes of the law (acknowledging that many would argue that there are still far too many injustices).
  • When the country was going through the Great Depression, took two New Deals and several ups and downs, and a World War to get us through. The government more than doubled their debt, increased tax rates to historical levels (that makes our 15-30+ rates look paltry), and we live in the shadows of the projects that the New Deal(s) built! http://livingnewdeal.berkeley.edu/map/
  • When FDR proposed the Security Security system in 1944, he said, "In considering the cost of such a program it must be clear to all of us that for many years to come we shall be engaged in the task of rehabilitating many hundreds of thousands of our American families."
I repeat them now:
  •  "The right of a useful and remunerative job in the industries, or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  •  "The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  •  "The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  •  "The right of every business man, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  •  "The right of every family to a decent home;
  •  "The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  •  "The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment;
  •  "The right to a good education.
  •  "All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being."
I see the Living Wage battles and minimum wage struggles, and I know that we will see a day when a minimum wage is regulated by living wage principles and not blanket directives. I see battles like the one in Utah over same-sex marriage, and I think, this will pass. It will take time, but soon every state will allow two adult people to marry the partner of their choice. I see the battles over the legalization of marijuana, and I think, it will take time, but as long as it is regulated and controlled like any other medication or intoxicant, it will get acceptance in every state. AND I see the Affordable Healthcare Act, and I know when they fix all the problems and all the issues with the website, we can eventually have a system where EVERY American has these rights and we been promised them for decades.
 
But these things take time and yet we are the instant-gratification generation. We want these changes to happen yesterday, and it's not reasonable or rational. We have to keep ourselves invested and WANT it to happen.