Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Working For A Living (11/25/08)

The American Dream - the idea that if you work hard you'll be rewarded with a decent standard of living, including the opportunity to own a home. It is a human ideal that everyone inherently deserves to have basic needs met. Working a job should pay enough to at least meet basic needs. Yet many people have to work two jobs just to make ends meet.

It is immoral for anyone working for a living at a full time job to be stuck below the poverty line. Working for a living includes being able to support a family. Anything less is a failure to live up to the American Dream.

This is an issue of morality - an issue of justice. Markets have rules structured by morality. We no longer allow child labor because it is immoral. We no longer allow slavery because it is immoral. We no longer allow employees to be beaten because it is immoral. Increasing profits of a few by decreasing pay to below poverty level needs to be outlawed because that too is immoral! Impoverishing people consciously is very immoral!

Markets have been set up to serve special interests. Energy subsidies to oil and coal are good examples. These so-called "subsidies" are really just payments from taxpayers to these corporations. They help to make us think that oil and coal prices are allow so we become dependent on them. This serves those companies because we don't see that we pay at the pump or meter and pay again through our taxes!

Markets need to serve the public interest!

These tax breaks take money out of our pockets and give them to corporations. The fair thing these companies can do is to pay living wages to employees. That's a responsibility they need to live up to.

As the new administration starts its stimulus plan hopefully they will make sure that the books balance for working people as well as the corporations. It will be up to us to keep pushing that message. It will be up to us to organize and be the active people that democracy needs.

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