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The complexity of wages and what is fair and not is not a simple issue.  Our economic forefathers proposed, that in a free-market economy, driven only by market forces, employers would pay what they can afford, employees would accept what they feel is the right pay for their work and the two meet somewhere in the middle.  Everyone involved in the exchange of labor for capital knows that this actually almost never happens... there are millions of Americans sitting below the poverty line and employers paying a pittance for wages and exploiting our people for profit.  On both sides of the issue are staunchly held ideologies that fail to find a middle ground.  The fact that if we set too high a wage threshold, workers will be happy, but businesses will go under; and if we let wages free-fall, business will be driven by self-interest to drive wages to the lowest possible level, in effect, enslaving people...and we do have a history of doing just that in this country, and still do.

The major difference between America's free-wheeling capitalist position and most social capitalist democracies is that those countries maintain EVERYONE's standard of living, whereas America lets the chips fall where they may.  Despite the large and ever-widening economic gap which is driving crime, homelessness, desperation and rising mental health issues, we have buried our head in the sand and act as if the problem will go away if we dont acknowledge that - unfettered capitalism is really just unbridled GREED unchecked, and carries an almost incomprehensible cost to human capital, the true wealth of this nation.

So what is the middle ground?

  • Setting a minimal livable wage to live without extras
  • holding each state accountable for maintaining that basic minimum to ensure that no one is living on the streets
  • implementing housing cost controls
  • reducing profiteering by ensuring that corporations act like good citizens by implementing a social tax for if they do not exhibit good citizenship.
  • managing the rate of rise of cost of living and indexing wages to that, so that a dollar buys the same amount of basics, no matter what age we live in. 

Please understand something that economists know - unemployment is not bad per se.  Economists tolerate a certain percentage of unemployment because it controls inflation. 

Full employment - every citizen with a job and spending power, actually drives up inflation, because there is too much money in the system.  The more people can purchase, the more prices go up as demand for goods goes up.  It means, a capitalist system has to maintain that some people be poorer, so that we don't continually have increasing prices.  Where America has failed, is in not putting in a backstop, which would require us to have a 'social contract', to keep those unfortunates from falling too far off the curve.  Unfortunately, it is these unfortunates, who find themselves living in rat-infested hell-holes, or worse yet, on our streets.   Our politicians have cynically interpreted social support to mean 'giving people a handout'... and have preferentially decided to increase police numbers, criminalize poverty, and privatize prisons to act as the 'holdover housing' for those unfortunates who find themselves as the allocated 'unemployables'.  This is how America now houses the equivalent of a small country in prisons, at tax-payer expense....all to avoid 'giving a supposed hand-out'.

  Sadly, however done right, this is where capitalism truly implementing certain measures - education, vocational training, upward mobility in jobs, it facilitates for people to be upwardly mobile, if they want to.  What that generally means is that if a person doesnt like where they are, they can start pulling on those bootstraps - get an education, get a better job, upskill, and all the country has to do is to make those opportunities available.  After which your sky is what you make it....   

This is going to be the focus of the PEOPLES PARTY.  No one is entitled to make a million dollars, unless they worked for it, but every citizen is entitled to a 'living wage'.  If they want more than that, then they need to put in the hard work, and our job in the CAPITOL, will be to put the pieces in place to ensure that all Americans who want more for themselves, are given the opportunity to do so.

Committee to Elect Akua Agyeman
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