Monday, October 8, 2007

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO SHARED PROSPERITY?

NATIONAL JOBS FOR ALL COALITION: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO SHARED PROSPERITY?

Our nation’s output per person doubled since 1970. But most of us don’t share this prosperity. Why? Most of it goes to the top.

It wasn’t always this way. After World War II, Americans began to expect that growing abundance would be more widely shared.

Progress toward shared prosperity has been reversed.

How? Through an assault on middle- and lower-income people by Corporate America and its political partners. By shipping millions of jobs overseas. By increasing profits at the expense of workers and the environment. Through tax giveaways to the rich. By a decline in effective political protest.

WHAT WOULD SHARED PROSPERITY MEAN NOW?

Secure, living-wage jobs for all • Equal opportunity • A safe workplace • Occupational advancement A more humane workplace • Increased worker autonomy • Collective bargaining rights • Paid vacation and sick leave • Quality, affordable child care • Reduced work time • More time for family, community and leisure • Paid family leave • Health care for all • Public health protection • Affordable housing • Sustainable energy • A clean environment • Affordable, accessible public transportation • Lifelong education • Decent income and services for the elderly, disabled and ill

HOW CAN WE START BACK TO SHARED PROSPERITY?

Reduce the Chronic Jobs and Public Investment Deficits

Initiate a Drive for “Decent Work”

The Chronic Jobs Deficit -- Even with the unemployment rate 4-5%, there are millions more unemployed workers than available jobs. And that’s not even counting the underemployed and underpaid. The chronic jobs deficit is especially high and burdensome for minorities and youth.

The Public Investment Deficit -- Underinvestment in public transit, bridges, levees, schools and other infrastructure. Underinvestment in child, elder and health care, education, housing and other basics.

A nation that fails to invest in its human, physical and environmental resources is doomed to decline.

Decent Work through Public Investment Is a Win/Win Solution

EVERY JOB SHOULD BE DECENT WORK

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize, and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. —International Labour Organization (ILO)

STEP 1. Support bills introduced in Congress and other proposals to meet urgent, unmet public needs and create millions of living-wage jobs. If all pending job legislation were enacted, this would substantially reduce unemployment, underemployment and the public investment deficit.


STEP 2. Reduce military spending to genuine defense needs and stop the Bush tax cuts for the rich that increase inequality and cost the Treasury billions. Public investments pay for themselves in the long run, but start-up costs can be met through ending the tax giveaways and wasteful military spending.


STEP 3. Introduce and Pass the 21st Century Public Investment Act To provide for high-priority public works and services that aren’t currently funded, with emphasis on increasing jobs for the unemployed. Jobs would pay prevailing wages along with health and other benefits.

Public Investment and Decent Work Cost the Government Less Than Unemployment
Newly employed workers become taxpayers, and government spends less on benefits to cover the heavy social and economic costs of unemployment to jobless workers and their families. Workers are healthier, better educated—hence more productive—and likely to earn more. Profits rise as consumption expands and capacity is more fully used. The economic stimulus of direct job creation typically spurs further, indirect job creation.

Establish a National Employment Accounting Office (NEAO) To evaluate progress, assess
continuing needs for job creation and public investment and assure both community involvement and achievement of Decent Work Principles.

STEP 4. Make the Minimum Wage a Living Wage Bring our inadequate minimum wage up to its 1968 level—or about $9 an hour (2006)—to be phased in gradually and linked to 60% of the average wage thereafter.

Documentation for these proposals is available at the NJFAC website at http://www.njfac.org/ or, in hard copy, from the NJFAC office (see below). Download a PDF copy of this flyer from: http://www.njfac.org/whathap.pdf

You can also download the full NJFAC Program and Principles for the Drive for Decent Work from: http://www.njfac.org/sharedpros.pdf, or order a hard copy of the 16 page pamphlet from our office for $3 by emailing: njfac@njfac.org or contacting our office at:

National Jobs for All Coalition
c/o Council on International & Public Affairs [CIPA]
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 3C,
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-972-9877
Fax: 212-972-9878
http://www.njfac.org/
Email: njfac@njfac.org

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1 comments:

Indy said...

Two things:

First, try getting a job anywhere at age 59 or older. I have retrained multiple times in my life but now I find that grey hair is not a highly sought qualification in an American worker. And once you are out of the money economy, there is no way back in. Please publicize the plight of older workers more in your literature.

Second, the Corporations prostitute themsleves on the stock market - to the moneyed class. I suspect that even if workers controlled the Corporations the same would be true.

Is there a solution to the crapitalist dilemma? What about removing ownership control of stock holders and turning it over to the workers within the Corporations? What about only paying interest, not dividends, to stock holders for their investment?

Money should be cheap, work and workers should be dear. Those are true family values.

Can you think of other such solutions?

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