Nov 182013
 

What is your net-worth?  Most Americans answer with a number representing the stuff they have accumulated.  I disagree.  My net-worth is that I inform people of my political opinions, with the facts that support them, and I give my time to help prisoners learn to become pro-social citizens and succeed in their communities when released.  Vulture Capitalism values only those things that generate profit and/or accumulate wealth.  A group in Switzerland is taking a completely contrary approach.  It’s what I would call a REAL living wage, because it’s a wage just for living.

1118LivingWageThis fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached. Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too.

The proposal is, in part, the brainchild of a German-born artist named Enno Schmidt, a leader in the basic-income movement. He knows it sounds a bit crazy. He thought the same when someone first described the policy to him, too. “I tell people not to think about it for others, but think about it for themselves,” Schmidt told me. “What would you do if you had that income? What if you were taking care of a child or an elderly person?” Schmidt said that the basic income would provide some dignity and security to the poor, especially Europe’s underemployed and unemployed. It would also, he said, help unleash creativity and entrepreneurialism: Switzerland’s workers would feel empowered to work the way they wanted to, rather than the way they had to just to get by. He even went so far as to compare it to a civil rights movement, like women’s suffrage or ending slavery… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Structural unemployment in the US is growing, and because of increased automation and the lower cost of importing some goods from offshore, we will have more people that need jobs than jobs for them to fill.  Something needs to be done to support our citizens that business leaves behind.

While I do have some socialist leanings, I also believe that there must be incentives to produce many goods and services.  However, I would support a guaranteed living wage for all people, whether or not they are capable of working.  Those capable of working must either have private sector job, or be given a public sector job, providing for the common good.  Caring for a sick family member might be an example.  We could do this if we redirected welfare for the 0.1% and corporate criminals to providing for all the American people.

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  25 Responses to “A REAL Living Wage!”

  1. While I like the idea of a living wage for all, I don't think this would ever work here. Our country is just too big compared to tiny Switzerland.

    • Patty, the size of the country should not matter.  We have no trouble sending tax refunds or aocial security checks.  What does matter is we distribute resources.

      • It shouldn't matter, but, Washington politicians can't agree on anything minor let alone something as big as this.

        • But you were tyalking about the size of the country, not the size of the program.  Democrats tend to be agreeable, often too much so.  The problem, is the Republicans.

  2. Congressmen receive automatic pay adjustments every single year. They're getting their raise, now when do our struggling low-wage workers get their fair treatment? Opponents of raising the minimum wage either don't know that the cost of living has continued to go up or they simply don't care whether working folks can make ends meet. In the past thirty years the minimum wage has been increased 3 times, or to be more correct, barely increased.  Congress has not represented the needs or beliefs of the American people in the last 30 years, and out of laziness or a surrender to what seems too big to change, most vote name recognition or party.  If the republicans had shown themselves to be honestly fiscally responsible, one could almost under this, but fiscal responsibility and republican make an oxymoron.  

    Each of us are an untapped power house of social activism. Americans are often reluctant to be the ONE that stands out.  I am reminded again, of the one man that many of you will remember, the man that stood alone, without a sign, without support and without speaking he stood in front of the Chinese tanks.  No one knows if is he in China returned to his simple life, in a prison or dead – which the government strongly denies.  That one man, that lone act of courage began the take down of a miserably repressive regime.  The Chinese people have not forgotten his act of bravery verses the government reaction against those peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square.   I'm not suggesting that the American government is the same, though if anyone is paying attention, the threat has been growing for some years.  The power is moving from the people to the government.  From the time Reagan began this unrelenting attack on American works we have allowed the government to grow in power.  

    There is no logical or reasonable answer to this solid wall of resistance to increasing the minimum wage.  Well, I suppose the "logical" reasoning is that if one is a paid agent provocateur of the wealthy, we can not expect them to act in the interest of this country.  It is possible to trim the budget and still act in the best interest of the people, significant increase in the minimum wage is a darn good beginning.

    The only reason for people working a full time job and still be the working poor is this lack of a minimum wage that meets the needs of the cost of living in today's real life world.  Other than the obvious reason that our Congress acts not in the best interest of We The People, but rather for the largest corporations and the wealthy that buy them with campaign donations.  

    Feeling better TC? 

  3. Thanks TC – if only the obscenely rich could let go their death-grip on just a few of their billions, people could be given self respect again with a living wage – I do agree.

  4. We have had decades of results of minium wage increases and not once do the statistics show a negative response by the economy, or a rise in unemployment.

  5. Oh, great, now I wanna move to Switzerland….well, it's still in the Scandinavian sector, so, I'm still good with it! :)

    I love their cheeses too!

    Being a Socialist I have no problem whatsoever with their porposal, and noooooooooooooo, it would NOT creat 'lazy' people. Well, we will alwayshave a few who would game the system, but that is in all countries and in all races so that's a non-starter for the nay-sayers. If everyone did have a LIVING wage check from the Gov't, people who care for their elderly or disabled child or spouse at home, would have more of the means to lighten the burdens of everyday living in this country. It would also be fitting to finally frikken PAY the HOMEMAKERS a wage for staying home, caring for their families, taking care of the home and doing the chores that women, and house-husbands, do and currently get nada for all their toils or sacrifices. It is not easy to do these days and still be considered 'just a housewife'. That needs to end. 

    It would also help those in abject poverty in this country of abundance to actually be able to breathe and possibly find a way up and out of it when their daily needs are finally met. It would help those who currently are working but not able to save a penny, they could then save more than a penny…which would help the economy. Some would finally be able to pursue college or go out and get a job if they can or wish to. But….as we all know….this is but a pipedream in our country, there is too much Fascism afoot and the obscenely rich are not about to help out anyone other than themselves. But it is a nice dream to have.

    • Terrie, we havew a major group of lazies notorious for gaming the system.  It's called Congress. :-)

      When you say pay homemalers for taking care of their familiues, that's one of the jobs I intended to include.

  6. Countries With The Highest Quality Of Life

    #1 Australia
    #2 Sweden
    #3 Canada
    #4 Norway
    #5 Switzerland
    #6 United States
    #7 Denmark
    #8 Netherlands

  7. As Terrie says, there will always be a few!  But in one of the PBS series about what makes us himan, one of the conclusions was that it's not just the ability to use tools, which chimps have, nor empathy/the desire to cooperate, which dogs have, but the combination of the two.  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/humanspark/about/about-the-series-introduction/35/  See also Maslow's needs hierarchy.  If we could raise everyone above the basic needs of food and shelter, we would find that most people by far WANT to contribute.  (Even introverts like me; it's not a social thing.)  Technically I would call myself a Social Democrat rather than a pure Socialist, but I am definitely far to the left of the current Democratic administration, while still maybe a little to the right of Jesus (the real one, not the Republican Supply Side Jesus.)

    • Please see my reply to Terrie.  I agree, but to require that able bodied and minded people do SOMETHING would mimiunize abuse.  We could start by demanding that Congress work at least 30 hours a week..

      LOL!  I consider myself a Social Democrat as well, but don'[t use the term much, because most Americans think a Social Democrat is a politician at a cocktail party. :-D

  8. I think that would be a wonderful idea to have a living wage for all, but I agree with you TC, they should also have a job, either public, private, or providing for the common good.  Self respect is very important and I have learned that those who live on the "common weal" and don't work anywhere, seldom have any self respect, either.