On Tuesday, I wrote about the efforts of Northwestern University football players, led by their former quarterback, Kain Colter, to win the right to unionize under the auspices of the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA). Now, I’m not saying that piece had any influence on the National Labor Relations Board, but let’s just say it…
Today is the UN‘s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a good time to talk about why 3 million people who are full-time, year-round workers in the USA remain in poverty. That number disproportionately includes women, people of color, GLBT* people, disabled people, and those who count themselves among more than one of these groups. At this point, though, the lack of wealth-derived class has become a unifying descriptor for most people in the US: four of five Americans now find themselves in danger of falling into poverty at some point in their lives.
The widening chasm of experience between the wealthy and the rest of us makes growing poverty rates ever easier for rich people to ignore. The way we measure our country’s well-being perpetuates the lie that things are getting better. The GDP keeps growing, but that’s only true because the GDP measures wealth; the rich own most of the wealth and they are getting richer.
Why do we accept that many, if not most, jobs in this country are low-quality? An increasing number of jobs offer too-few hours, inflexible schedules, low wages, no medical benefits, no paid time off, no maternity leave, and no sick days for workers. Increasing these jobs’ quality would be better for the economy as a whole. It doesn’t have to be this way. At minimum, we can stop allowing companies with zero percent effective tax rates to pay their workers so little. Remember, workers on minimum wage must rely on programs that taxpayers fund, like Medicaid and SNAP, to survive. We must expand the Fight for 15 and join the effort to raise the minimum wage for all American workers.